tv U.S. Senate CSPAN November 25, 2010 12:00pm-3:53pm EST
reporters running. how do you deal with it? >> those are lines that get blurred allotted narrative nonfiction writing. where do you draw the line? i am a purist about it. if it is in quotes it came directly from them, usually in that same dialect. i don't ever paraphrase for them. i take it as it is. it comes from their personal material like diaries and letters. >> this is pretty frustrating for narrative nonfiction writers because people read narrative material and assume you were not there, you had to have made some of the up. you can reconstruct it accurately. this is why it took ten years to write the book. every narrative detail is verifiable right down to it was raining, the room looked like this. those things are very easy to recreate. dialogue is more challenging. there is stuff that appears on
paper and in my case medical records, journals and things like that were important. the opening scene of the book where she gets out of her car and walks up to the front counter of a hospital and says i have a knock on why will in, term medical record says patients says found tumor on cervix. she did not walk up to the desk and say i have found a tumor on my cervix because that was not who she was. i interviewed all of her living relative is, everyone from that time and have them tell me the stories of what happened and the way they told the story is she said i got a knock on my womb. the quotes recreated from interviews are direct quotes from the way they were reconstructed from people who heard them and i talked to her doctors and people and i verified them with as many people as i could. various narrative moments in the story fact that i wasn't there for all had multiple sources. i would not say to them did she
walk up to the desk and say i have a knock on my will but tell me what happened and they would come back with the same story and when you hear the same story from five or six people that is as close to accurate as you're going to get when there is no written documentation. i had fact checkers to verify all the information. these were recorded by other people. every detail in a story is like that. if it reads like fiction some of it might be made up. that is unfortunate. >> my question is mostly for molly but i teach economics which is another discipline that struggle with education. i wonder what insights or advice you have for the educational process in science and you need changes in high school or college teaching? >> couple people who read my book recently said it is a shame more kids aren't reading books like this in their science
classes because especially for kids, high-school or college age, the human stories, the connections are what they take away from it. they connect to those people and i say i don't write about disease. i wrote about people who have disease. as far as education goes, kids would learn a lot better if they were given that kind of context that they can put those facts in. >> my book has been really widely -- is being documented in colleges and a lot of universities where all freshmen are required to read the book. in medical schools kids are required to read the book. i spent a lot of time talking at universities and high schools. that is exactly what the take home point for all these kids really is. this is the first science book -- i had a kid come to me last week and said this is the first book i have ever finished in my life. i hate science and the story
really got me to go through it. in my case the book is actually a lot of it is about the importance of education. her family had no access to education and a lot of trauma that happened to them happened because they didn't understand what was going on and no one tried to explain it to them. there's a lot of access to education for the poor and minorities. have seen kids excited about the book and asking important questions and i realized the the future scientist. they need to get these stories and their siblings often come to my events. i want to read your book but high and 10. so i ami and 10. so i amm 10. so i am writing it for them.
>> a woman called from a cathedral and said i came in and one of the medical students asked what i was doing there and we heard the story of yellow fever and doctors gave their lives in the course of medicine and want to come to the place where that happened. one of the most rewarding experiences. the way they practice medicine. [talking over each other] >> i am so sorry. we have two minutes left. i am very sorry. i wonder if you could both in one minutes a what is next for you. >> i signed on for my third book. it will have an element of science writing with scotland yard, forensic work and scotland yard detective tracking down a group of thing that took place in edwardian london. a lot of early detection and forensic psychological play.
>> for me, the story is like the film, they have taken over everything. i am working on a young adult version and a consultant on the film so i will be working on that and so is the family. we will be part of that. i have other ideas i will begin to work on but i am still focusing on this talking at different universities pretty much every day. >> i can't tell you how much fun this has been for me. and three women talking about science, a wonderful morning and wonderful way to kick off the texas book festival. i hope you will join us in 15 minutes in the book signing tend. thank you. [applause]
up next, bill smoot talks about conversations of great teachers a collection of interviews that he conducted with exceptional teachers to find out what makes them so effected. mr. smoot spoke at books inc in berkeley california. >> thank you for coming. and i would like to thank books books inc for having me. independent bookstores are a very important part of every community, so come back often. i want to start by just saying a word about how i wrote this book. its origins go far back into the
70's when i was a graduate student at chicago and i discovered the works of studs terkel. how many of you have ever read in yet studs terkel's books? great. so as you know, he was this wonderful radio journalist who started doing books of interviews with people. the one i referred to think was division street and soon after that, his book borking interviews with people about their jobs. and at some points over the decades, i remember thinking i wish he would do a book of interviews with teachers. i was a teacher, my mother was a teacher and i thought it would make a great book. and sometime a few years back, i read in the paper that he was in failing health and obviously would do no more books and he's since passed away. and so at some point -- i can't remember the moment -- i thought what if i were to try to do one
myself? as a student i had been a journalist and so i thought she to the committee i will do it a try, to a few examples and see if i find it interesting. and so i did. and i didn't just find it interesting, i found it fascinating. on was so compelled by talking with people about what it was like for them to be teachers that i was hooked. and there were two decisions to make fairly yearly on. one is white just do a sampling of teachers, good teachers, younker teachers, lousy teachers, and have to be space in terms of ability, or what i try to focus on great teachers? and i quickly decided to do the latter. i somehow felt that there are greek teachers in this country and in this world, and i wanted to honor them and give them a voice and also have the book be
a way of exploring what is it that makes a good teacher? the other decision i made soon after i started the book which was somewhat accidental is it occurred to me that certainly there were great teachers in kindergarten through 12th grade and the universities, but no doubt there were also good teachers beyond, because in some ways every aspect of society needs to be taught, it needs to be transferred to other people from generation to generation and that a lot of teaching takes place beyond the classroom, beyond the secondary school in the university. so why branched out, and in the final form the book has more than half of the interviews with people who teach in conventional ways. there's someone who teaches ballet school. one of my favorite exceed goals is a man who teaches alligator
wrestling. there is a manager who teaches the arts of plea in the infield that's actually from washington to steam is in the playoff at the moment as we speak. and so that was the other decision that i made, so it became a book about great teachers in all aspects of life. so what i want to do tonight is still a few stories about the people i met along the way and read a few excerpts from the interviews. when i think about the book, one of the stories that often comes to mind is interviewing a retired fincen teacher who was in his nineties and he retired from teaching when he was 91, and he started to tell me what it was like to teach fencing, and we were in his bedroom at the house he lives and he picked
up a financing for real and he demonstrated his a man of 91, and he stands with this very erect posture. in fact i kept checking my own now sitting across from him, and he picked up the foil and suddenly became a 25-year-old and showed me the moves going back and forth across the room. then he said one of the things i always teach is how to fold the foil and keep the foil in my hand, said pick it up and i did. and he adjusted my grip and he took his hand away after he had my eighth trip the way he wanted it, and i had this odd sensation that i could still feel his hand on mine after he took it away. and so in some ways that became a sort of metaphor for me. i often would think about these interviews in terms of that plan during a touch, and how in some ways that was symbolic of
everybody that i talk to, whether they taught in medical school or first grade were taught in -- financing. so i felt in every way a story about teaching is in some ways a kind of replay of that metaphor of the miracle of teaching. someone doesn't know or doesn't understand or doesn't have the skill, and then after the interaction with the teacher, after the touch, then they do. it's a kind of miraculous transformation. one of the teachers i meant was a man named steven levy, who teaches a massachusetts purity was a teacher rough fourth grade and was an explorer in something that is now called project based learning, and what he did this fashioned the fourth grade curriculum around projects, so he talked to me about the
projects that he did, and i remember one of them he said he had his fourth graders bake bread, and i immediately had this image in my mind these little munchkins meeting flower on their faces and i thought that sounds really precious so i said you mean they did from scratch, the yeast and the whole business? he said ono, we started by growing of the wheat and it took the whole school year but by the end of the year we'd grown the wheat, harvested the wheat, grounded into flour, used it to make bread, and he explained that first of all he could build a lot of the curriculum and to that, the science curriculum, math in terms of measurement and so on. but also, for him, he said that because he was teaching in an affluent suburb, one of the primary things he wanted to teach these little children is
that everything in life is not given to us. that bread doesn't grow on trees. my mother used to say that about money all the time, that it doesn't come from a store. everything in life has to be made by someone. so he wanted to get them out of that sense of entitlement that he thought they might have come and teach them things had to be made deliberately and through human effort. so what i found about a lot of the teachers they often talk on two levels. they taught the specific content, but they also taught metalessons, the larger lesson that surrounds the skill or body of knowledge that they were teaching. and so one of his other projects was before school started in september he had the classroom cleared out so the students came to school on this first day in
september and there was nothing there. as a bear room. and he said okay this is our project for the year. we have to design and build or classroom. so the first thing they thought about work desks and they talked about what a good student desk would be. then they went out in the community and find a carpenter who would help them with it, and part of the curriculum for fourth graders in massachusetts is to study the pogroms. so he said we are going to need money for this comes a let's study how the program got money for their voyage, and they did that and learned the pilgrim sold stock in their companies, so they sold stock in their class, and went around the community doing that and they got a volunteer from the bank to teach them accounting and how to keep track of the money, so the math selection was built into that, and he based the fourth grade curriculum on the idea of
projects and at one point i said to him something i asked a number of teachers and that is what is it that makes you good as a teacher. and it is an interesting question because most people i talk to were very loquacious and spoke easily about teaching. that is the one question that gave a lot of them pause may be out of modesty or maybe because they hadn't reflected so much on it before, so we thought for a few minutes and this is how he answered the question. he said i think it's something about seeing in every student to their particular genius. something about their particular spirit, something that was fully formed for them, though it was trapped in a 9-year-old's body. it's about seeing the potential. well, potential is kind of a rightward, but just seeing quell the easter sometimes not at all represented by their behavior.
so in a miserable kids that are haughty or agassi you see qualities of leadership with people who are planning or always complaining, you see a depth of the ability to turn suffering into something gold in. i used to pray a lot about that, to all we see what is the genius in each child that makes him or her absolutely unique. i can think of a number of kids who descended into a kind of east could when they entered seventh and eighth grade and at some point it began to emerge and they decided to become human beings. at that point they were able to reflect on themselves and once the light begins to shine in work they see to things. one, god, i was really a jerk, and number two, he somehow liked being with the day after day. i've had several kids come back
later and express that in one way or another to me. so there are those troubled kids you didn't think you having any impact on and they come back and you realize you did have an impact. when you teach these kids come you have no idea what they are going to become. you don't know who's career to become a fireman or who is going to become a neurosurgeon or who's going to work in a factory. but what you hope for them is what ever they become, they will somehow be able to see all of life and learn the lessons of life and relate that to bigger principles of who we are and how we are related to each other. how would be my hope for the kids i've taught. speaking of metalessons, another one of the teachers spoke with, an english teacher at the high school level, fought for a minute about what he really taught, and he said you know, i
think what i really try to teach is pleasure. and he spoke about teaching the deep pleasure of reading the literature and responding with heart and soul as well as with mind and to the content of literature. often people will ask me about my own reflections on the book. and it's a fair question because i think in some ways it's a different but to every person who reads it because the interviews in some ways comprise raw material coming into the reflections are going to differ with every year and the lessons you draw from the teachers are going to be different with a free person. nevertheless, i tried to think about what some of my own art, and it occurred to me long after the book was finished one of the lessons i drew from it is in some ways teaching seems not so much like a separate art, but an
extension of expertise. that is a person becomes an expert in something, might be nero's surgery or mathematics. and at a certain level of becoming truly knowledgeable in that area, truly why is about that area, having made the area of knowledge and skill truly once owned, they're comes with that the ability to transmit it to others and in some ways that might pose an interesting question for schools that have you major in something and then teach teaching as a separate kind of art. this isn't to say things can't be learned in schools i know a lot of people who have, but doing these interviews made me wonder if teaching wasn't more of a kind of extension of being
an expert. so for example i interviewed a man who spent decades becoming one of the best fare years in a world that's the art of making and applying course shoes, and finally he opened his own school and is now known throughout the world, and students come from all over the world, ireland, the states, saudi arabia to study the art under him and for him learning how to teach the art of making it a point in horse shoes was the ultimate extension of his donato position at that skill and understanding. another was our lunch ryckman, a neurosurgeon and duke university who happens to have been a surgeon who operated on ten kennedy when he had his brain tumor. not years someone who obviously doesn't have to teach but he
does, and not only does he teaches on your surgery residents he also teaches undergraduate at duke because he's committed to it and because for him one of the ultimate expression of knowing brain surgery is the ability to pass on to others. the same was true of a former ballerina who herself studied under [inaudible] for those of you that no the ballet world and she now teaches at the school in new york. and for her, being as good and as accomplished as she was in ballet, the ultimate expression of that was to know how to teach it to others. now like a lot of these people she may well have had the teaching gene because when she was very yawn, when she was 22,
disalle teaching ability and had her start doing some teaching even while she was at the peak of her career. another was ron washington known in the baseball world for his ability to teach other players to play the infield, and again, for him the ultimate level of his skill was to begin to understand how he did it, what were the principles that made him so accomplished as an infielder and then knowing those principles how he could pass along to others. and similar i read a fascinating man named tom when he was in high school had been mr. basketball in the state of minnesota which meant he was a number one rated basketball player in the state and his primary skill as a player was that he was a phenomenal shot. he set a record for the
consecutive free throws that still stand today 35 years leader so he went to stanford on and a basketball scholarship and the first day in practice he got a lot of his shots blocked. completely broke his confidence, he lost his shot, the coaches apparently didn't see what was going on or figured they didn't have the time to spend with him and so he spent four years of stamford writing the bench, never played in the game that triet left stanford, went to work for apple computers, got interested in golf and tennis, didn't pick up a basketball for years, and one day on his lunch break at apple he went to a basketball court and started to shoot. within five minutes, he was switching every shot. so he started and how is it i can do this and he began to
think about it week after week, month after month, and finally came up with what he believed were the basic principles of shooting, which he found to be unique and different and the way other people including the great coach at ucla so he began to teach it, and today he's known as a teacher in the art of shooting and his students range from 9-year-olds to nba basketball players who collier him as a private coach. and so, again, for him a certain level of expertise then made the transition to understanding how he was such an expert, and then finally, the ability to pass on to others. i think that's particularly important to me because one of those savings this always irritated me beyond belief is the saying those who can do,
those who can teach. i've always found that to be in some ways a helpful saying because it is one of those that's idiotic in a way that makes you think about what's wrong with it, and to me what's wrong with it is eight misses the entire point of the greatest teachers that they in fact our people whose teaching depends upon not only the ability to do, but then further the ability to reflect on what they do, no the essential aspects of it and finally passed on to others. one other story of experts -- one of the streets doing this book was being able to spend an afternoon with a great actor martin landau, and he was explaining to me what in his point of view -- his start as a
philosophy method actor type -- what it meant to act and even though you might be in an air-conditioned sound studio, you might have to pretend it's 105 and new orleans and you better start to sweat so much that you believe in it. and he said excuse me, and he took his bear hand and pretended to be answering a call on his cell phone and was really convincing and i thought this is clever, but he continued to talk to this imaginary person and covered up the phone and said excuse me, and went back to talking, and seconds went by and i thought -- i began to doubt my own experience and fought with a second, i thought it was his bear hand, but cell phones are small, his hands are big, i think he's really talking on the phone.
and so it went on for another 30 seconds and then he said goodbye to the person and this is true, i really did this, i reached across the table and i opened up his hand and it was empty. and i fought he is good. a half-hour later his real self phone rang and he had to take a call and i realized that the imaginary call was more real and convincing than the real call, and i felt my god, this man is talented. and not only is he talented, but he has known how to pass it on to others and generously does so. when jack nicholson was interviewed by new york magazine, he said i can act for one reason, because martin landau put me through exercises over and over and over again until i could finally get them
right. finally, one more story. vince dunn was a firefighter in new york and became a teacher of firefighting and this is what he said in our interview. he said for the first 20 years in the five-year service i didn't think about anything. i would go into these burning buildings and run in and run out and when it was all over i would come back to the firehouse and say whew and have a few laughs, put a lot of my mind, go home and have dinner with my wife. then all of a sudden when i became a deputy chief and got assigned to the bronx and had a lot of people under my command, i said wait a minute, i'm responsible for them and then i started to think about what i did. once you start thinking and not what you do, you start writing
and then you start teaching. you think so exactly what happened here today and why did it happen? we had this five-year and put the fire out, and a part of the floor collapsed and the chimney fell and almost hit a guy that's pretty interesting. i need to figure out why that happened and how to understand it. one day i remember risking a battalion chief. i had to go up the ladder and get him from the roof of the building -- burning building. it was easter sunday, took him down and gave him a hug. this was a rough night, and i'm sure he went home and had dinner with his family and never said a word about it, but i went home and start writing an article about how he got trapped there. over the years i've written maybe 50 articles that got published and a couple of textbooks, and it all came from just thinking about what i did. most people and the police, fire
and military don't really think about what they do. so the most important lesson i would tell anyone -- and i know it sounds corny -- is to go back and write about what you do because once you start to think about it, then you realize everything. okay. another general semite found in a lot of the teachers is their sense that teaching was not so much transferring something from themselves to the student as it was crawling out of the student some kind of the seed that was already in them. for me it is reminiscent of one of the well-known dialogues of plato and which socrates begins a conversation with a slave boy who has no education whatsoever, begins to ask a series of questions and based on the way the slave boy answers the questions he asks more, and by
the end of the dialogue he has led the slave boy into what is the proof of the furor merely by asking questions so the implication is he had this knowledge or at least the building blocks of this knowledge and understanding in himself all the time and the genius of socrates as a teacher was to extract eight and develop it. so one of the young teachers i interviewed a lot of the teachers were long in the tooth like myself but one was a young man who was an aztec dance teacher and he said about his dance teacher meaning we also feel that human beings have in their bodies natural
inclinations toward patterns, mathematics, rhythm, music and dancing. human beings are natural dancers. i don't want to call what magical but there is something very natural about patterns. human beings are very receptive to the patterns and learn them very quickly. another teacher i interviewed who was a teacher in oregon and former pediatrician incidentally says fox almost ready to his spiritual life carries around inside of them for example i have a catholic woman who came to a retreat and i asked her what is the question that you carry around with you all the time? she said my question is is their anything outside of god? for example how can there be children caught in bombings in
iraq? how does god allow this so we melted down to this. is their anything outside of god? so she's been the week pondering this question and looking around her. is your computer outside of god? is your hand out of sight of god? is the homeless person at the site of the road asking for a handout outside of god? so it is a way to dig down through the early years of confusion to have insight into a deep truth. if you read about it sounds nonsensical. people often read about what is the sand sound of one hand clapping. that's actually a very deep and query into sound first of all and then into deep listening. you have to parse them of the extra words so it becomes what is the sound of one hand? or what is the sound of one or
the sound? so the teacher will help the student refine the essence of what the question is and then guided them into learning so you begin to listen to all of the sounds in the world without listening to them as if you've never heard them before. it leads people to some very interesting insight. so again, it is that fema teaching has drawn out from people athlete in the has already been there. one of the things the was really special to me doing this book, this is a bit of a personal confession is i came of age in the 60's and part of that of course was having a great hope, but another part of that was having deep anger and even bitterness at a lot of the institutions and people in
american society who were in those institutions, and one of the things that was sort of collaborating for me was to meet so many people who work so good and so dedicated and so much giving their life to bringing about new knowledge and bringing about the wisdom. a personal test for me was going to interview former secretary of state george shultz. his politics and my and do not coincide, and i thought i wonder if i will be able to maintain my demeanor as a polite southern gentleman when i talk to this man who lie once actually heard speak just before the war with iraq and said the weapons of mass destruction are certainly
there and there's a rattlesnake in your yard you have to kill it, that was his metaphor. and i actually went in to see him because he's frequently mentioned as a mentor for condoleezza rice, and i wanted him to talk about that and maybe other mentor relationships that he's been a part of, it wasn't clear early on that he didn't want to talk about that in particular, so i thought okay this is probably an interview i'm going to scrap. but then he said the reason i decided to do this interview with you, i've written him about the book, he said i believe teaching is important and he said in thinking about it i realize in every job i've ever had in my life i've basically been a teacher and that's for him the first teaching experience was coming back to princeton as a senior thinking it was going to be his year on the football team but he got his knee blown out in practice and
so one of the coaches saw in him a potential as a teacher and put him in charge of the freshman backfield and he said that was my first experience of teaching and i felt like every job i ever had in my life whether it was in fact been an economics professor at the university of chicago or being secretary of state or any other cabinet position that he held, he said basically i felt like what i was trying to do was set up an environment immaturity on my staff was learning and he said i feel like if people feel that they are learning it will bring out the best in them and they will do the best job they are capable of and so i realized at that point okay i was willing to forget the rattlesnakes in the backyard analogy and i realized we were just to teachers sitting down to talk about the nature of teaching,
and in that context he wasn't nearly so dour as he used to come off on television, and though we have our disagreements he was a nice man and one who had indeed always been sensitive to what it means to teach and someone who had always taken that role very seriously. sometimes people ask what was your favorite interview? and that's hard because i really love doing them all. but this is the one that probably rises to the top of my mind most often. a woman who teaches in prison. she actually lives in the area of some of you may know of her,
and she is one of three people interviewed who teach in jail or prison, and in a previous appearance someone asked me why three people out of 51 who teach in his jail and prison, and i didn't know the statistic, but i looked up and at any given moment, to .3 americans -- 2.3 million americans are incarcerated. that's a large population, so on reflection, three people who teach them it's just about right. rodessa jones mostly teaches incarcerated women and this is the story she told. i was tigard by the california arts council to 15 years ago to go into the city jail and teach aerobics to incarcerated women. for me as an artist getting this
call i was mystified but i answered the call. so i just improvised everyday for the first month. i started and they're looking very fashionable, looking like danielle from solid gold which was a television show from a around that time. i just turned 40, and the women were fascinating. i was black, so most of the women were black or latino, and so the black and brown women sat up and took notice. at 40i was in great shape. domingo walkovers, handstands, bridges, splits, and i'm talking about my own life. i am merely telling the story of my life. taking them on the journey that has brought me to this place come to this jail in this city on wednesday morning at 11:00. in the course of that i talked about having a baby at 16. i talked about my own dance with
drugs and dangerous man. i talked about my own experience of looking for love in all the wrong places and they were mesmerized. it nudged their memory, you know, the cheerleaders, the dancers. there was even a contender for ms. black california who had gotten strong out on cocaine and was in for murder. my purpose was to take people out of the space where they say i am a crack head, a speed st. these are titles people lay on themselves and i said you were so much more before this. before this, who were you? who were you and where were you and what was going on before life started to hurt? and all of a sudden it is like we were all just kicking it. i remember another incident a
young woman was talking of something horrific that had happened to her. she had been abducted and raped by a man who had been stalking her at school and so she's telling the story, crying, hyperventilating, shaking. and another woman gets impatient with listening to her and says that's not nothing. let me tell you what happened to me. and then as a teacher, i stepped in and say wait, what do you mean? how can you sit there, and we've all been crying, and say this woman's story is nothing? everyone's story is valid. everyone's priceless. and i just need to say in this moment to everybody that i am sorry these terrible things happened. but don't ever say that ain't nothing because she's giving it up in this moment. i could see that the woman who had been telling the story, who
was about to react with anger and withdraw was all of a sudden listening to the fact that i was singing her story was valid. just being able to reiterate this whole thing that happened to her was valid and good for us all. i don't think anybody had ever said to that woman i'm sorry. i don't know if she had even told the story to anyone before. as a teacher calling your always watching for that place where as they say in hip-hop you drop some knowledge. and also, where you've opened up an avenue for a new thought. two or three days later the young woman who said that nothing came back into our circle and said i have something i want to say to alice. i'm sorry i said that ain't nothing. and i've never said i'm sorry to
any one before about anything, but ms. jones, you were right, and alice, i'm sorry, and i'm sorry that happened to you. then she broke down and started to cry, and i'm like wow. as any teacher will tell you, you are going to learn as much from your students as your attempting to in part to them, and i tell you it changed my life to be working with incarcerated populations, namely women to be it made me much more grateful. it makes the practice of gratitude. i really do. and that leads me to my last reflection on the streets. i thought about her last remarks that mix a practiced gratitude, and at first i thought well i guess she meant these women are incarcerated and i'm free so i
am grateful i meant privilege in the way i am in white but i leader realized that probably wasn't her primary meeting. probably what she meant is -- and i think this is something that was nearly universal among the people i taught, and that is there was something about them that was so generous in their hearts that they were so giving that giving and receiving -- for them to give was to feel grateful for their ability to give. for them, giving what receiving. thank you. [applause] okay. so we now have time for questions, and if you would like to ask a question it's necessary
that he stepped to the microphone here and speak the question to the microphone that's for the recording purposes. so don't be shy. if i can do it, you can. i guess i want to give a pitch for good teachers, and i think a public school situation where somebody might have five classes, 150 students a day and they are struggling and trying to be the best teacher they can and maybe they have teachable moments, but on the whole thing could be a great teacher and we could create environments where they have four classes with 80 students and if they could make it is a good teacher not have to kill themselves, the time
reading papers, not to spend their life always evaluating on test scores and if we could create this environment where a good teacher could be successful , i think this is what the gay public school system would need. >> i think it is very well said, and i think that you're point is deeply true about teaching and many things in life. it's true we can't all be martin landau for prawn washington, and i do think in some ways the function of being able to get my ear and recognize great teachers and read about them is first of all its inspirational for all of us, but also a way of reminding us that the great people don't mean the good people don't
measure up. quite the opposite. it's a way of reflecting back on the good people that they are good. to use an sable from another aspect of my life i've done a certain amount fiction writing over the years and i've had a couple of short stories published. i'm not a great writer, but to me what i've sort of realize is the fact the i am not faulkner or any number of 5,000 people like mengin doesn't diminish the value of my own modest little achievement. in fact it reflects on it because what it means is lined a small echo of these larger people, and so i can feel a kind of modest pride in that and i found you're point is well taken that in some ways i hope this book will cast a kind of echo of
value and worth over all of the teachers in the world who are good or even half as you say moments of goodness or greatness, so thank you for your comment. >> let's go to sports. >> when you were sitting in the front row of okay this is a guy that's going to save me here. >> no, there's this image of the great players do not make the great coaches or teachers, and i think underlying it is it came too easy for them or not that -- it did come easy and they have trouble communicating it to
others and you picked some examples of people who were great partition as and teachers, but what were your response be to this great players don't become great coaches or teachers? >> i think very few of them do because i do think there is a difference between a great talent in the great skill, and then as i said earlier i think we can almost see there are two more levels. there's the understanding of how it is you do what you do which some people don't have, they are just great and they don't know how they do it. you ask a great tennis player how do you serve 125 miles per hour and they say i don't know, i just throw it up and hit it. so the next level was understanding how you do it and then the level beyond that is understanding how you take that
wisdom and pass it on to others because let's face it, there are a lot of great ballerinas. there are entered in any suki shores who can be a great ballerina and teach it to others, or from washington who could play the infield but then figure out what are the principles that allow him to play the infield error free and passed on to others, so i think it is a completely different skill and your right there is a big difference between talent and being able to teach and there are also people who can figure out the principles and how to teach who were not themselves particularly endowed with natural talent. >> what do you think of a basketball player like she colonial no one seems to be able to teach and how to do free throws, and you mentioned --
>> he should call tom nordland -- and i asked tom nordland can you compare teaching a nine-year-old to teaching and nba player and he said yeah, the nine year goal is much more teachable. they are open, they don't have the ego, they are not surrounded by all the trappings, so they are completely open, and i went on to say so how do you teach? suppose you were trying to teach me when i was younger and wasn't very good. i said would you just have me shoot the ball and see how was a feeling he said noel wouldn't ask how does it feel because the answer could be it feels great. he said the questions i would ask would be what questions? what just happened? where was your elbow? was the wall lined up with your
body in the basket because he said ultimately everything the pairs depends on awareness and self awareness, and the only way he said i can build awareness is by asking questions, and he said honor even think i could help someone with a they're playing of the violin even though i can't play the violin i set of really, how? i would simply this piece and rate between one and ten and then i would say okay play it again and rate between one and ten again. what was the difference between the seven and the fight? and he said just by asking questions, you can try to get someone into the awareness mode, and it was a theme that came up in a lot of the teachers namely the importance of asking questions as opposed to giving answers.
>> i also work in the schools and find the topic both very inspiring and intimidating, and it's hard enough to be a good enough teacher, let alone a good teacher. but i'm wondering in our own house lives we are all kind of teachers and lerner's and it might be one relative, a brother, sister, kim on the block. how does this relate to being someone who relates to people in their own life has been the teacher and a learner, does this have any relevance to the topic of conversations with teachers? >> well i think it does, and one of the reasons that i branched out into so many areas of life was i do think that teaching and learning are -- i mean they are the glue that holds life together, and they happen and
for more ways. you learn to do brain surgery, you learn to make shoes coming you learn a high school mathematics or college physics but you're absolutely right. every day we all teach things to one another. they can be little things like i will start the car or larger things like here's a way i think maybe you can deal with your co-worker, and i think that in every successful society, whether it is a family, neighborhood, town or a nation, they're has to be teaching constantly going on and you're right, we are all teachers and we are all learners and one of the thing that selects this great cast of teachers is they all had an enormous curiosity
and the head and ceased to think of themselves as still learning, learning from their students and of learning from other sources about the subject area. and sometimes making radical changes -- i interviewed a fascinating physics professor but harvard who had been teaching successfully at harvard, large lecture hall class a in physics and got a good student evaluations, but by giving a certain kind of test which he actually got from another source he began to think you know, my students really don't understand the physics that i'm teaching them, and based on that completely revolutionized his way of teaching, and so i think another part of this this constant drive to get better and the sense that
teachers are lifelong students themselves. >> i would like to know how you identified the people you were going to interview, how you approach them and how you prepared for your interviews with them. i will take my pants off the air. [laughter] >> i identify people in a variety of ways. sometimes i might have googled surgeon teaching awards. i try for every person to have to separate reasons to believe they were great teachers. in some cases, for a simple a couple of people in the sports world, ron washington and tom nordland i got from a sports writer. the yield and said you know the world of sports. are there people in that world that you believe our great
>> and sure enough i found this man who is really good at teaching it. it was a fascinating interview. and, you know, he had real insight into teaching. and all the things you need to do to really train a confident alligator wrestler. so with a wide variety of ways. then what i did was i just contacted the people, usually by e-mail, sometimes by letter. and i was expecting to get turned down, a certain amount of the time, especially as i got into people who are very busy or were well known. i got turned down by virtually no one. and i later -- somewhere people who turned out a lot of interviews. so i later realized that the reason was these were people who were so dedicated to teaching,
that the fact they're going to be interviewed about teaching, they were famous or powerful or something of the sort, made an incredibly generous with their time. and so i virtually got no, no. answers. they all agreed. okay, we are about out of time. i would like to thank you all for coming. i've enjoyed talking to you, and i hope you have enjoyed listening. thank you. [applause] >> for more about author bill smoot and his work, visit billsmoot.com. jay kirk recounts the life of taxidermist and conservation is carl akeley.
the author reports at the end of the 19th century, there was a growing concern among many in the scientific community of the depletion of several species due to overhunting. still years from proper photographic equipment, they had hopes and preserving animals for future study. mr. kirk recalls carl akeley's me hunting expeditions in africa with the likes of theodore roosevelt and p.t. barnum, and his decision later in life to stop hunting and create sanctuaries for animals to live and be studied. jay kirk discusses his book at the academy of natural sciences in philadelphia. this program is just over 45 minutes. >> hello and good evening. thank you so much for being here, and thank you for that wonderful introduction.
i can't tell you how grateful i am to be here tonight at the academy of natural sciences. and to see so many friendly faces, it's -- thank you so much for coming out tonight. i also want to assure any of you who might still be wondering, no, there will not be an actual taxidermy demonstration in tonight's program. so, apologies to any of you who are expecting that. but i do come however, want to begin by telling you all a story that took place 100 years ago a top of mount kenya. it was here in june 1910 that my friend, carl akeley, found himself attracting -- tracking a
creature that would ever for changes life. he was with a small party of guides, just 1000 or so feet beneath the glacier. the elevation was high enough that his hands were numb and he could barely held -- hold his rifle. by this point, i should say, carl akeley, they explore and taxidermist had already achieved a certain level of fame for having stepped tiki bar and legendary jumbo the elephant. it's life like this that the general public first on sorcery. akeley was even more famous and natural history museum circles for already having revolutionized the art of taxidermy. for infusing into, with an era of social. and four in thinking the habitat diorama, those green solutions of nature frozen in a box. by now though he had already been in africa going on a year
and having a hard time finding a male elephant large enough to bring back to the american museum of natural history in new york city. he had already collected a couple of females and a young calf, shot by his friend, teddy roosevelt, who had come to africa at his urging. but carl had yet to find the really big bowl he sought. he had scoured half of africa by this point. trying to find his perfect specimen, and it failed over and over and over again. he had grown so frustrated, some might say obsessed, no, let's go all the way and just say obsessed, that is how it had begun to resemble a has pursued of moby dick. finally he decided to go up mount kenya, the second highest peak in africa where he had heard legends of customers so old that mosques grew from their
backsides. and where, in fact, his wife and partner in crime, they become a previously bagged the biggest elephant bull ever recorded only five years earlier, and which is now on display in the lobby of the chicago field museum. but by now ,-comcall and nikki's marriage was somewhat strained and karl had gone on this cut -- hunt alone. this is nikki having kind of a classic breakfast. that is her in the back. and that little critter on her lap is jt junior. jt junior being her pet monkey devil, who would eventually confirm, at least for me, lord byron's great statement about truth being stranger than fiction. more on that later. anyway, back up mount kenya,
karl had found store higher than he ever would've guessed about the tenderloin, 14,000 feet. annual higher in the marshes where the air was thin as plasma, and cold. but right now in the upper bamboo forest, as he was creeping along on an agent and claustrophobic elephant trail, he realized he was now tracking what was very well the biggest bull elephant he had ever come across. but it also began to realize his trembling consternation, that at the same time he himself was being hunted by the bull. the trip itself was a kind of maze, a series of interconnected pathways blazed over time that traverse the elephants feeding grounds high in the mountain forest. deep in the maze though, as karl tried to follow the bull tracks
and he only ended by circling back around the same place from which he started. finally decided to try and find the exit to the maze, carl was going along the bamboo perimeter. he found a massive pile of dumb filled with steaming and freezing gymnast. -- june missed. i'm going to read a passage from a book. i left it down in my little act as you here, so let me pull it out. it was then he began to have a distinct sense about this elephant. it came over him gradually. defeating was he had finally found the pool worthy of bringing back to me your. the one he'd been chasing after for the last year, as if it didn't only one individual bull all along that had evaded him
and set up this contest. but by now he felt that this was the one. even stranger, carl and his doctors kept walking through the maze he started getting the sense that the elephant truly was waiting for him, a feeling was strong. he was being hunted as well and he was now engaged in immoral contest, this goal. in fact, he waited up until the moment when he came to a small clearing in the green bamboo and heard a loud crash in the woods 50 yards straight ahead. the tractors were already 20 yards forward on the path, and now raced against the unknown. the porters behind him had run off, shedding their bundles. carl got his rifle butt is getting bigger went through the patient ritual of taking out and holding up for carl's inspection every single bullet. the last thing he needed at a critical moment like this was to
load the wrong caliber. meanwhile, he unwrapped the handkerchief from his hand trying to read feedback into his numbed fingers. and waiting for the tractors to give him a signed win, with no more fanfare, that it does not entering the victorian drawing room on an array of midafternoon sunlight, the bull was suddenly upon him. out of nowhere a task was at his chest. as if the elephant had only been standing there, hidden behind the bamboo curtain waiting for its q2 enter. want to know now was the safeties on his rifle had caught, though there has porters would remember that he got off one shot. he did not remember the splintering of wood or an explosion of weeds are what he got a shot off or not. what he did remember was the odd overwhelming sensation of homesickness, struggling for a moment with the safety, and then he had done the unimaginable. he had thrown the rifle aside
and actually reached out to grab hold of the task as it lands passing with a force of a swinging log. a completely mad thing to do, to climb aboard a charging elephant as it were a speeding boxcar. it had been almost automatic, like something he had rehearsed in his mind a thousand times before. lifted off his feet, lurched skyward, somehow in the next split second managing to get himself between the two tasks, grabbing the other as well so he had a grip on both like the handlebars of a gargantuan bicycle. you he was now riding the face of this giant bull and a massive demo, over lord of the forest, pressed against the thick rich bridge of its trunk close enough to see his own terrified jiggling reflection in its corny. he knew to expect no mercy.
attempting to script the gymnast off its face, the elephant thrust its tasks into the earth that it plowed into the ground, thanks to exhorting stubborn under assault, are rude, rock. carl was not killed instantly, but remained between the tasks holding on for bitter life. as the elephant changed, carl felt the chilled breeze, and took one last breath. the smell, then a shouting blackness them 10 hours later, his writers would arrive at base camp to bring nikki the bad news. when his wife found him after reading a wholly insane and terrifying and at times hard to believe they'd not rescue
herself, she just found this bloody mangled heap covered in blood and she feared that her husband was dead for sure. the elephant has crushed his chest, broken several ribs, more or less crudely scalped him, and ripped open his right cheek so that it dangles gruesomely exposing his teeth in this horrible greatest. amazingly he survived. even more surprising perhaps the fact that instead of calling it quits, and going back to america to a nice cozy hospital bed, a clean bed sheets and running water, he would spend the next three months in his tent while mickey minister to him. change his bandages, helping him to eat, and all the while continuing to manage the safari some 150 porters, gun bears, cooks, scanners, all on hold while he lay on his cot delirious, hallucinating, and on the brink of death.
at this point i'm sure some of you must be asking yourself, he sort of had that coming to him, didn't he? [laughter] there he is in africa shooting his marvelous creatures and they fought back. good for them. i should say the first mention that i ever heard of akeley and the first thing that maybe think i might have a book idea was while i was in the middle of another story about extinct cats. and in my research i passed this kind of factoid in passing about the famous taxidermist who had once strangled a leopard with his bare hands. i thought that was amazing. indeed, it is. [laughter] >> i always thought this would be a cool path through the gap.
[laughter] >> anyway, later on by the time carl got poll asked by the elephant, it was getting kind of hard for me not to think, well, maybe there is such a thing as karma. i also have to admit when i started buying the book that's pretty much how i felt. after all, one of my all time favorite quotes come from john year, is a war of races should occur between wild beast and lord of men, i would be 10 to do sympathize with the bears. but let me take a moment to try to explain some of his most that how it come in all the more for his paradoxical nature. after all, it's hard to spend six years working on a book and that she find the characters sympathetic, and brutal as akeley can sometimes be, i do have an enormous amount of affection for the brooding taxidermist. but at first i did not clearly
understand the larger rationale for his work, even if i feel like i understood him as an individual artist. whether the judge him for my enlightened, ha ha, 21st century perch, it seemed necessary to write as closely as possible from his point of view. just as it was important for me to write about all of my characters as close as possible from their points of view. complete with limitations of their own thinking, and the limitations set on them by the idea and given knowledge of their era. trying to get my characters motivation, and by extension, trying to understand the motivations of the air, would end up being one of the most decided and difficult struggles of writing the book. i was first drawn to akeley as the excess of artist and not on risk his life over and over, but he would do such amazing and preposterous adventures links for his art. not only that but he wa was in d
who would literally killed for his art. and i must admit it was somewhat sinister qualities that's partly to blame for my initial interest in the story. but beyond all that great, dark, romantic intrigue, there soon emerged as much larger and ultimately more important question, why, as science new, these animals were on the verge of extinction, which they did, did they think is a good idea to go out and shoot a few more and put inside a museum? indeed, akeley and his boss at the museum believed with great certainty that many of these animals were an imminent threat of extension. and, in fact, this was why they thought it was a good idea and imperative mission to go kill a feel for the diorama before it
was too late. at first blush it's one of those what were they thinking times of questions, how exactly did the fine art of embalming equal conservation? the part of the answer was quite simply, as it turns out, a matter of available technology. in terms of caching lifelike images of wild animals in their natural habitat, the state of photography could not yet begin to compete with the art of taxidermy. which, into akeley came along, and revolutionized the craft into this, lovely -- [applause] [laughter] , was not all that useful to collect and catalog known species. quote, still photography was in its infancy as frederic lucas, a
contemporary and drug the american museum of natural history once put it, in the stage, as lucas put it, when it was not so difficult to photograph a bird in the open as it was to find the bird in the photograph, did one meeting of the american ornithologist union around this time, one member pointed with pride to a photograph with a seagal stating that it was his one success in 150 negatives. a clue himself had experienced similar frustrations. after he, too, brought a motion picture camera to africa, not for the sake of making movies per se, but as a tool to help them make better taxidermy. but the technology was simply not up to par. repeatedly when he tried to film lions, or anything more fleet footed than a hippopotamus, he lost its focus. the camera he used was about as
memo as a wooden suitcase mounted to a tripod. filming a gazelle is trying to follow a shooting star with a child wobbly telescope. but regardless of the technology, and i will return to that any moment, how was the possibly justifiable to murder the species that were already thought to be teetering on the brink of extinction? i mean, how was this just cause for a sober institution like the american museum of natural history, or the academy of natural sciences, or any of you others? the first reason was that they believed many of the species were already doomed due to the ongoing colonization of the sound of africa. the habitat loss, encroachment of european civilization, this year orgiastic killing of wildlife, just as it had been in the american west, was enormous.
akeley thought the elephants alone had a couple months passionate a couple decades left at most. but here's the thing. america itself was only just waking up to the horrible truth. america, which had always been synonymous with infinite resources, given the vastness of our own wilderness, was beginning to realize that maybe it was not so infinite after all. or at least some were just now waking up to this reality. most notably, that great american socialist, president teddy roosevelt. who had started to set aside great places of natural wilderness under federal protection. tr was doing a very radical thing. but also very practical thing. for he was not designated national parks purely out of a love for nature, which he had in great abundance, but because he had seen the writing on the
wall. america's natural resources were shrinking. not everyone saw that. most people didn't see that. a lot of people thought it was perfectly fine to go and shoot 80 lines, or 14 mountain gorillas. the double paradox here for tr, of course, that he was sadly one of those men. but this awareness really only was daunting and the idea of conservation itself, what a great idea, brand spanking new. but still in the face of losing all of these amazing piece wanting to african belt, the best chance they felt they had to at least preserve the knowledge of the erstwhile existence was to preserve the images of these doomed wonders. enter carl akeley, world's greatest taxidermist. by now carl's boss, henry
fairfield was comparing him in talent equal only to cities, that great ancient greek sculptor had reserved images of the gods in party on. as statutes was his job in a nutshell was to take the last snapshot of the dawn of creation in all its splendor before it was snuffed out. but this is a somewhat elastic philosophy. was he charged in effect with making time capsules of a vanishing world? yes. did he love the animals he was killing? i truly think he did, yes. i know he did. but the full scale of this ultimate time capsule would only come to akeley after you taken that beating by the elephant back on mount kenya. it was while he was confined to his tent healing from his wounds that he first began to have these feverish visions of what
would become, after several more harrowing expeditions, and three decades, the grandiose akeley all of african mammals. but while he laid on his cock listening to camp sounds around him during the long days, the jungle sound that make him he began to envision this monumental mazelike space. it engulfed his imagination. the space was dimly lit, dark, whitehall over but many panes of glass, each the size, curiously enough, at the movie screen. over those three months, the overall reveal itself gradually graduallycome into his magic every last detail carefully estimated to mentioned in his mind, picturing where he would place each child beast inside his layer. imagining it all down to the smallest, most exquisite blade of grass.
in the center of the hall, with the a frozen herd of elephants, as still as bronze statute. into what he really had to be grateful to the elephant who had nearly squashed him like a great. i mean, without all that extra time recuperating, he very well never would have had this vision. there we go. he also, of course, had to be immensely grateful to his wife, micki, who had not only saved his life in a rescue effort that massed his own encounter with the elephant for sheer terrifying adventure, but who stood by him when he was back on his feet and suffering from a disabling crisis of courage. after all, once he recovered he had to resume the alpha and. especially now if he was going to fulfill the dream of his epic vision. but it was at this point what it
would begin to suffer lapses of morale in the gentle euphemism of time, that is, as he went back to face the elephants he began to suffer nervous collapse of. mr diagnosis very likely would be ptsd. i think one lesson that i definitely took away from working on this book was that, this is not the best thing for one's mental well being. both carl and mickey, in different ways, were certainly psychic casualties of the lifestyle. but the center of the book, the thing that really drew me the most is the into train its character was a struggle with the so-called lapses of morale that she suffered repeated after his clash with the elephant. the whole big important issue of conservation aside, much of the underlying story for me was about fear, how it defines us, and how much our lives are spent trying to escape it is that
common thread between fear and obsession. and this is what i think i identify with akeley the most. it is when he loses his nerve, when he starts to lose his religion. is at this most human part of the story, at his most vulnerable where i feel like i have it in as a writer. i also felt like it fit into the larger historical story, giving how much fear justified his work. fear of the natural world dwindling, closing in, and in that sense closed boxes of the dioramas, design a compartment, these cramped time capsules seem like an apt metaphor. but what was just as confining then come and what continues to confine us today, is this illusion of separation which we build up around ourselves, partitions that separate us.
it was having that partitioned momentarily lifted for carl akeley that gave him his own retention, his great epiphany while hunting mountain gorilla. he had brought along his new invention, his motion picture camera, an instrument that would revolutionize still photography as much as the taxidermy that had already revolutionize his medium exhibition. and i parted to get his new sensibility, his welcome sense of abilities, to this new contraption which he loved with him all the way to the congo. i feel like he must have realized he did not need to rely on his gun alone now. if akeley had not experienced this metaphoric partitioned melt of shattered, the mountain gorillas would cast a shadow of doubt can't extend. is most important important legacy without question was seeing the mountain gorilla. if akeley had not persuaded the belgians to great the first wildlife sanctuary in africa to protect the mountain gorilla,
diane fosse would not have had anything left to protect. sigourney weaver would never have been nominated for an academy award in gorillas in the mist, because they would only be missed. in the and one of the bittersweet ironies of carl akeley's story is that by reinventing the camera, and making it capable of better preserving images, he contributed to the demise of his own beloved artform. we should count ourselves lucky, the animals should count themselves lucky. that we really don't need dioramas today, because we have incredible shows like his light series to put us closer to nature. to see what we otherwise would not see. but i do also sincerely feel with a grain of salt, that when we go to see the dioramas in new york or chicago, or here in philadelphia, we cannot help but feel deeply affected.
for me the expense of standing in front of one of the dioramas and looking in at the animals forever frozen in time, it each scene grammatically sealed for eternity, it always gives me a sense of what akeley himself must've felt when he had his own moment with the guerrillas. when he was standing there, you are not at all aware of the class, you feel as though you could walk right into the scenery. the effect is like nothing else. and ultimately these are works of art. and i say that because these dioramas continue to do the job what art is supposed to accomplish, which is to make us see the world more clearly and with compassion. thank you very much. [applause]
>> yes, i will take questions. >> we would just ask if you have a question, please use this microphone for c-span audience. thank you. >> thank you. [laughter] >> okay. >> yes, sir. >> hi, john. >> i need to thank you with all my heart on behalf of the national association, that every taxidermist in the world thanks you for writing this book. [applause]
>> thank you. thanks for teaching me about taxidermy. >> of all the fears that we know of that you point to in the book, that makes the experience, what do you think was his most underlying fear while back in new york city? >> fear of failure. not getting it right, not getting the money to do what he wanted to do. but i mean, this man was so driven by work and perfectionism that i think -- >> a great answer. for me, just one more question. i understand a modern taxidermist being attracted to the life of calling, his sense of adventure and accomplishment, but basically, you're not an outdoor guy. what in your life actually attracted you to the persona of akeley himself?
>> well, he -- i think it was a morbid attraction at first. i like the idea that he was an artist who literally killed his own subjects. just to be quite honest, that kind of grabbed my attention to. he struggled his -- a leopard with his bare hands. the things that grabbed me first was a compelling text of the story, the sort of hard to believe parts of these stories. i quickly found that he embodied so many other things. i mean, he embodied that time, the birth of the conservation movement, and this great awakening where, you know, they did not realize that maybe we could spend more time trying to save the animals rather than kill them. and there was this illusion that
wilderness was infinite. >> thanks a lot. i appreciate it. >> thank you. [applause] >> that was a really great talk. >> thank you. >> i've got to get a great job of sort of teasing out some of the contradictions they are, and of exploring them. just a quick question, i'm wondering if your family with donna haraway's work? >> absolutely, yes. >> that was a first attempt in mind when i saw your book come out. it's called i think aspect right. she really takes up the question of some the things you touched on, race, class, sex, the colonial aspects, and he mentioned a few things about maybe a lot of primatologists seem to be women, or the famous ones. but if you any thought about her reading of this story, of this
character? and then second, since you were mentioning murder and then, of course, the fact that you are interested in crime writing, right, the famous line, right, we murder to decide, but this seems not quite that. it seems we perhaps some people want to kill to reconstruct, or to represent, or to come in this case, maybe domesticate where you take a living being and bring it into the interior of the museum or the house or something. so anyway, two quick thoughts. >> well, i can say, brad, and i'm familiar with donna haraway, and i loved reading her work. she is a very high academic theorist about, and she kind of put her focus on the natural history museum, some of the social theory aspects of it, all which i found to be completely valid points of view. and i think the only thing i could say to that was that it
was, probably by reading people like her, made me keenly aware of, you know, is obvious major discrepancies, the racial issues of carl akeley being a white safari hunter, all these kind of invisible borders. and i felt somewhat conflicted about that, how to acknowledge that. i feel, i did try to acknowledge it in different ways, and certainly -- mike enzi is right more about the scene. so i include a number of scenes talking about the actual clashes that were taking place. which particularly, tersely enough was always skirting. like the most kind of awful wars between european settlers and the african natives. there's a lot of stuff there. i hope i adequate answer to question.
>> thanks for the great talk. i don't know if you look into this at all but i was wondering if you could talk at all about the parallels between the rise of modern taxidermy and what was going on in the development of zeus at that point in time, as a way to keep live animals, domesticate live wild animals? >> it goes hand-in-hand a little bit. many of the trustees, including theodore roosevelt, j.p. morgan, and some other friends, were actually very involved in the establishment of the bronx zoo. at the same time they were trustees who are putting their money into these, you know, the dioramas. so some of the same people who have the same interest at the time, i think they had somewhat more different image of what the zoo might be and what it might
provide to urban dwellers, than it ultimately ended up being. so that might be just my breezes june is looking back and say businesses are offered that awful it was a good is it anyway. it's not my thing. yes, there were definite, definite parallels. another parallel go to some of these same people in museums who again were trustees of the bronx zoo, felt that it would serve a purpose to people living in new york, and the cities that were suddenly so much bigger. and they thought it was very important, the value of nature, they doubt you people having access to nature and wilderness, that that would help put off or assuage some of the anxieties of what they would call over civilization.
>> i thought my question was stolen, but i think it is a tack on pick your book is a 2010 book on a modern book. and i can't help but think about your own discussion and think about the zoo as it is conceived today, as being these archives of dna. and i was wondering if any way you are shaping this book and thinking about it being a 2010 book, thinking even about zoos in the present mission to preserve, now that may have in form you're thinking about the past? >> i think i don't entirely understand the question. >> i'm just saying, i was thinking about zoos today are so much about preserving life that's going, condos and so forth. >> rescue. spirit and it sounds like you are so much in which are describing sounds so much when i listen to -- >> the fatalism? >> yeah, the fatalism today and houses are thought about today.
i was wanting in any way in your writing, thinking about zoos today came into -- >> msn. i think it's all very fatalistic. but i mean obviously we, our society reached a point where we feel completely fatalistic, like now is global warming. but some people aren't so fatalistic about it. a breakthrough will happen. we can deal with it. i think the answer to think about akeley and the people at the museum at the time, and the great irony, i mean, now, this answer someone else's question, too, what really drew my attention. i mean, yes, at first it was kind of the morbid artist thing, that was cool, but just the paradoxical nature of the times and other scientists -- and other scientists, it was amazing to me that here's a point where they felt like this is the best we can do.
we know that the species are going to die. the best we can do is to preserve an example, an image, a data point, a knowledge for us to have for people of the future to see what we lost. it's very fatalistic. but then i think that's what makes akeley story so wonderful is that he breaks through that. i mean, he has a redemption. he sees that it is possible like, hey, let's say the mountain gorillas. that's what make this book optimistic i think. >> the part of your story that you were speaking at just unfastening was a little bit you mentioned about his wife micki. how much do we know about micki? her story -- is she backing up and missing to her husband, bring him back from the brink of death.
her story sounds fascinating, and i never hurt her and i wonder how much they may she have? what she said in his shadow? does she have fame as a taxidermy as well, and how much of her story is in your book a? >> that's a great question. i definitely sort of focus mainly on carl in my lecture tonight, but the book is definitely about carl and micki. i see it as romance. her story was amazing. yet, it's phenomenal to me that a book has not been written about her, like the full treatment. and not to go on too long, or give a spoiler, but she ended up on her own crossing africa. she was the first female export across africa on her own, working for the brooklyn museum in the late '20s. but yeah, she's just as much a part of the story as carl is.
[inaudible] >> this is -- the movie footage is that i'm using here is connected to the akeley. the johnsons, and they were kind of really glitzy, amazing movie maker couple at the time, you know, at first they're going off to borneo. they did a lot of savage movies, movies like haga guerrilla and wild savages of the south seas, stuff like that. but they decided, they became friends with akeley. they were a bit younger than him, and he convinced them to go to africa and film. they went over there and they moved there for nearly a decade, making these movies. and that kind of an interesting symbiotic relationship, where the movies that are making -- this movie is called simba -- and some of the, the american
museum of natural history get is respectful and premature, which gave them a little more, you know, respectively, which i guess they felt they didn't have. they had the box office but they didn't have the scientific credibility. and so they formed this relationship with akeley and the american museum of natural history to go film these movies and a custom underwriting for it, and the profits from 50% of the profits from that was supposed to go to fund train eight african haul. so he was actually with them. some of the footage some of the lion footage was is but a whole fleet of akeley cameras. >> -itis what is a really enjoyed reading the book. is a great lecture tonight. so my question is about working with akeley's papers. i mean, you spent six words that years researching with his
memorabilia. so what was that like? what were akeley letters and diaries like? and also what did you think about his wife's monkey? >> i do want to talk about the monkey. [laughter] >> that would be a spoiler. [inaudible] >> a weird monkey. it was very tiring. very tiring. six years. [laughter] >> i love that kind of research, you know. you know, i spent many, i mean, i practically moved in to the archives of the explorers club where he had been president for a few years, and the american using of natural history, the library there -- the librarians that were incredibly helpful. and i think it's phenomenal how much they actually have, you
know? you know, they wield this part out. they have like 50 archive boxes that are just crammed full of correspondence, invitations, the photographic archives were phenomenon. and that way, it's like okay, i was not there but i could look at these photographs, they took thousands and thousands and thousands of pictures. they made movies. they made movies, some not as good as others. but it was a great source to reconstruct scenes from it and see what it really looked like. and i read their diaries to i saw all of the primary doctors that someone would use any history book or biography. i probably have one, you, different, or that i didn't have to include it if i didn't want to. so i just kind of kept things. like for instant akeley had a couple of patents for equipment.
[laughter] >> but reading the correspondence, and also in rochester, as he grew up near rochester at the university of rochester, founded on personal correspondence that enabled me to just kind of get into his head, really. he comes across very humorous sometime but at other times he is hysterical. he's really funny. i wish micki had written more. i mean, the two books that she wrote, jungle portraits, and/or second was, was called jt junior, biography of an african monkey. [laughter] >> really good but. i wish she had written more.
>> choking the leopard, you talk about trying to look at it from his point of view, looking at it at the time. unique that screens of moral ambiguity, and that fascinates me. well, it does. the question that i have for you is kind of a three-part question. how important is a moral objective in writing nonfiction? have you ever come across somebody in your writing that you haven't been able to not sympathize with, because of their actions? and this guy, did he do anything that you personally may be, this is in the book, that you personally can't justify for yourself?
>> akeley did many things that i found reprehensible. absolutely. but again, you know, the thing that i was drawn to, that i found most compelling in terms of ending a character was that he was very paradoxical, you know. so yes. you know, he was engaged in this enterprise at face that he was very brutal. like, go kill these animals and bring them back and mount them. i guess that could be morally irrefutable. but at the same time, i mean, as i said my objective was try to see it from their point of view and see what was going on. but, you know, he wasn't the only -- there were definitely characters in the book that i found through my research that were morally ambivalent past the point of ambivalence. they were just jerks. i did want to write about them.
[laughter] [applause] >> jay kirk is a creative writing teacher at the university of pennsylvania. for more information visit his website, jaykirk.info. >> joining us is jonathan safran foer author of "eating animals." in the book you talk about farmu where animals are being producee for eating. and you sasey that they'rey are treating saving animals like it was that what did you mean byng that?eanby >> i should say there two types of farms in america. farms and y farms. small family farms that most people think about when they are imagining a farm, animals on
grass and fence post and farmers walking around in sunshine and hay. in america 90% of the farms are animals are raised by concentration, hundreds of thousands, given antibiotic from birth until death, pieces of their body removed without anesthetic. our food system has become like our tennis manufacturing system. it doesn't matter how we treat these things. unfortunately, it also doesn't matter what the environmental effects are. we have the very disinstructive industry. >> where did you get the idea about writing "eating animals"? >> when our wife got pregnant with our first child, i thought about feeding somebody else, that frightened me. i wanted to know more about the
affects on our bodies and world. >> you talk about the affect our or bodies, what effect was the eating meat on the environment? >> well, the u.n., which is not exactly the humane society, said that animal agriculture is the number one cause of global warming. produces a lot of greenhouse gases, and top two or three causes in environmental problems, air pollution, loss of biodiversity. basically, knowing what we know, we can say that it's impossible to onesself an environmentalist. >> you talk about the economic, environmental, and social considerations. explain that. >> it takes 26 calories of food to put into the animal, you get one back. we are basically ming south
south america, taking advantage of south africa, it's not so great. but is the 50 cent mcdonalds hamburger is chicken nuggets. >> based on your book, is there any such thing as good meat? >> i'm not one to say. is there such a thing as a farm where animals are treated well? yes, i went to farms that farmers treated the animals better than i treat my dog. i also went to farms that are environmental sustainable. the question is can we have a farm system that's like that, want answer is no. there might be an analogy to child welfare, excuse me, labor. 6-year-old give them a job to enable the family to stay together.
we have a system like that. those in the mercy of those at power, and such strong incentive to abuse the power, it always gets abused. in americas we have always have really good farmers. really noble people, and appeal to the stewardship, but we will not have a farm system like >> i'm a ton of globalization. i was born at a time when large numbers of african countries had just gotten there independence, were getting their independence, or were independent for a while. and that entailed in africa, in the conflict i was born, and
later i found out places in asia that there were people that took over power very quickly. and people in, i don't want to word they use class, because we had in africa the level where we ourselves class. but as a glance, groups of people were either persecuted or prosecuting others. those of us who felt prosecuted by those in power, in fact it is more than that. we left our countries of origin and went elsewhere. that was easy to do. that means i have lived without even realizing that that i was in a globalizing world it when i hear people use the word multi-culture, i think back of my schooling in nairobi where we came from all of us came from different cultures. we were all looking for better
lives and economic progress. but to move from a to b., from country to country, language to language, from hemisphere to hemisphere, it was so much easier, let's say. we took a more for granted and my grandmother's generation. and then i come of age in the information age. so that i think generations like my mother and my grandmother somehow, got a taste of it. but didn't grow up in. i'm not just a child of globalization, but i'm also a child that is intellectually come of age after 1989. after the fall of the soviet union. >> why was that the case? how did that impact your life directly?
>> it impacted it directly if we accept some of the thesis that there is a clash of civilizations and that there is a clash between the west and islam. in the sense that is born into the muslim civilization, as defined by huntington. and lived it and breathed it, was committed to it, was loyal to it, delete and it. and left it and came to the west end of the same thing, lived it, briefly, made friends, you know, made my future here and was able as an individual to compare, not just a geographical distance but as -- geographical differences, but the differences in values. i came to really appreciate one of the other and they made a choice. i think that makes it, if you are looking to what is it that informs how i interpret events today, events that we're living
in, that informs i think more than anything else. the fact that i think expose both worlds, exposed to the thing in both worlds, and that i feel i am able to compare. and my opinions are, you know, one of many, one of a thousands of people. it's my opinion but that's how, and events we're living, living history. >> you would say a number of the primary factors that influenced your thinking are derived from your being a part of and being influenced by globalization, you're being part of a tribe. your also, as i understand, you are also your own background in terms of your education and being exposed to multicultural circumstances. would you say that sort of the foundation on which your book is derived from?
and your very being? >> yes. on thing i would add to that is that i have been exposed to different types of education. .. and preachers educate me and loyalty to the klan, tradition and loyalty for god and the hereafter, loyalty for the profit mohammed and his example, so i was educated in both places
but the educations are radically different. >> to watch this program in its entirety, go to booktv.org. simply type the author or the title and click search. baylor university history professor thomas kidd's new book, "god of liberty" discusses the relationship between religion and the american revolution. indiana wesleyan university and mary in indiana posts this hour-long event. >> i do want to talk to you today about my new book, "god of liberty," and give you able snapshot of the rule i see religion pleading in the american revolution. i want to open with a story about a chaplain named david avery of franklin, the kid. he saw his first action of the revolutionary war the battle of
bunker hill. that june in 1785 new england seized a bunker hill in charleston, massachusetts just to the north of british occupied boston. under the cover of darkness, the colonial troops hastily built fortifications of the top of the hill that would allow them to bombard the british army across the river. it so provoked the british they decided to assault the insulin militiamen and drive them from the charleston heights. the british navy brought charlestown setting the small towns b5 wooden buildings ablaze while 2300 british infantrymen crossed the narrow charles river to attack the 1500 colonists occupying the hill. as the redcoats began to ascend the hill, avery stood on by the nearby bunker hill and raised his arms toward heaven praying for god to bless the american
forces. for a time his prayer seemed to work. the first american vallese unleased terrible destruction on the british who were treated. they regrouped and insulted the hill once more, only to be repulsed by a policy that sounded like a, quote, uninterrupted pilau under. as the british surged forward for a third of all, the american commander reportedly shouted for the americans not to fire until you see the whites of their lives. the militiamen began shooting only at close range but they had begun to run out of ammunition. some control back from the park charging british while others tried firing males or pieces of scrap metal from their bones or bludgeoning the red coats with their muskets. but in hand-to-hand combat the militiamen were overwhelmed by the british troops and their bayonets and the americans called for a general retreat.
the colonial troops took severe losses in the battle, but the british losses were even greater. with over 1,000 casualties it was the bloodiest clash for the red coats during the war. avery found the battle to be truly terrific. quote come to us infantile americans not used to the thunder and carnage of battle, the flames of charlestown before our eyes, the incessant play of the cannon from the shipping all heightened the majestic terror of the field exhibiting a scene most awful and tremendous. get avery came to see the british army's chief of costly victory at bunker hill as a sign of divine favor for the patriots. god, avery said, quote, was a rock and fortress. he covered our heads with a helmet of salvation. for this evangelical chaplain, it was god who had woken up the
formidable british army would cover the american's retreat and would turn what should have been a route of the patriots into a brave defense by the americans. through counseling, preaching and praying, a free help troops understand that got remained with them even in defeat. as a young man coming avery had experienced salvation under the ministry of the celebrated evangelical preacher george whitefield. he had gone on to be tutored by the pastor and founder of dartmouth college and graduated from yale and served for a time as a missionary to the united indians. in the years leading up to the american revolution, avery has himself become a luminary among evangelicals preaching in the emotional style of foot field while embracing the calvinist the knowledge of john thune efforts the brilliant hastert and theologian of massachusetts.
the news of the opening of the war clinics in ten and concord massachusetts in april, 1775 kunkel a free to leave his congregation and vermont to serve the patriot cause. in the army, a free spent most of his days praying with sick and dying soldiers who were facing the threat of morrill disease more often than any fire. he occasionally served on reconnaissance and century duty, too. he was one of more than 100 chaplains in the continental army where faith play a vital role. after the battle of bunker hill, a free flight with general george washington through new york and new jersey during the bleak fall of 1776. washington had evacuated new york city just barely escapes and capture by the british that august. following defeat at white plains and port washington in new york, washington's army retreated into
new jersey and pennsylvania. it was the darkest time in the war and many began to wonder whether washington had what it took to lead the americans to victory. and some americans might have wondered whether god did indeed see the justice of their cause. on christmas night of 1776, avery crossed the delaware river with washington and witnessed the surprise attack on the haitians, mercenaries hired by the british army at trenton, new jersey. the unexpected victory at trenton was washington's great moment of redemption. although americans would leader remember the terrible weather on the might of the crossing before the attack, a free and other american soldiers struggled much more with the conditions of the return trip back across the delaware river on december 26. the second crossing so rough a
free thought he might fly. quote, we were greatly distressed with a very cold storm of rain, hail and snow which blew with great violence. i was extremely chilled and came near perishing before i could get to a fire. a free also sol washington's critical victory at trenton has orchestrated by ghana. adverse weather and fierce british troops could not ultimately stop what avery saw as a holy struggle for freedom. avery was present, too when british general served the great army to the americans at saratoga, new york an october 1777. he hoped to invade upstate new york and cut new england off from the rest of the colonies. a move that avery and others feared would allow the british to unleash french catholic and native american hordes from the
north to overrun the colonists. the french catholics of canada remained in ominous presence to many protestant americans throughout the war even though in 1778 france would ally with the americans and enter the war against britain. his humiliating defeat with a free to call for, quote, the highest of all americans to the god of armies. such victories buttress to the beliefs held by avery and legions of americans of all denominations that the revolutionary war wasn't simply about unfair taxes and colonial politics, the conflict summoned americans to support a god's sacred cause of liberty. it was not only traditional evangelical believers whose all religious meaning in the war in the founding of the american mission. let's fast-forward for a moment
beyond the war, beyond the trimming of the constitution to the election of 1800. thomas jefferson in that election defeated the sitting president, john adams in what jefferson styled the revolution of 1800. jefferson's election was the final event of the revolutionary era and the first peaceful transfer from one party to another under the new constitution and on new year's day, 1802, the evangelist john leland delivered a prodigious gift to the new president, it will hundred 35-pound block of cheese. they called it the mammoth cheese, and it came from leland's farming community of massachusetts which seems to have voted unanimously for jefferson and the 1800 presidential election and the
cheese bread crust was adorned with donato rebellion to tyrants is obedience to god. two days later on sunday, january 3rd leland delivered a sermon before a joint session of congress and the president. a hostile federalist congressmen in attendance writing in his journal called leland a cheese longer and, a quote, poor, ignorant, adelbert, quamash preacher. leland spoke on the text, quote, behold creature one than solomon is here for the not too subtle implication of his beloved president. the embarrassed federalist congressmen ground that, quote, such a the larocco bald with stunning place, horrid tone, fretful grimaces and extravagant gesture was never heard by any
decent auditory before. now say that jefferson and the wind made of fellows is an understatement. leland devoted his life to saving souls. in estimated at the end of his career he preached about 8,000 sermons. an evangelical leland simply contest the, quote, my only hope of acceptance with god is in the blood and righteousness of jesus christ. although he attended church regularly as president, jefferson did not believe that the blood of jesus would save him or anyone else for that matter. he always professed to be sincerely attached to jesus's teachings, but jefferson did not believe that jesus ever went to the son of god. he thought the doctrine of the trinity was nonsense and the year abracadabra of the priest of jesus.
let them lead to leland to admire jefferson so much that he would think to give him that big cheese? the answer to this question goes a long way toward explaining how religion is seen in to the new american nation. although jefferson and leland could not have been more opposed in their personal religious beliefs, they shared the same view of church and state. indeed, the baptists of the lane one sold jefferson as a sort of political save your. religious dissenters like the baptists had long suffered persecution in conversationalist new england even after patriot new englanders had fought for liberty and the revolution in the to. jefferson gym and religious freedom in virginia where the itinerary and leland had come to know and love the future president. jefferson, the skeptical deist, and leland, the fervent
evangelical, both believed that government should afford liberty of conscience to its citizens and not preference for one christian denomination over another, and these public believes about religion and politics made fast friends of the diaz and an evangelical and to modern american allies, this seems most improbable alliance. malt all conservative christians like jefferson to be sure. many hated him because they saw him as an infidel. one newspaper called him a, quote, howling atheist, but these critics didn't represent the wave of the future. jefferson and leland did. the link between jefferson and leland shows that in the american founding, diaz and evangelicals and a range of believers in between united and around public religious principles that keyed the
success of the revolution and helped create america. the union of evangelicals and deists were fragile and hurley unanimous but it proved strong enough to allow americans to begin the world over again as tom paine put. only public religious beliefs united revolutionaries' because personal faiths were to buy first to join the wide range of faithful americans. in 1776, america was already a nation of many religious views, and just like today, deferring personal beliefs divided people. in public, however, five religious ideas connected the far-flung and deeply buried americans. the first idea lay behind leland's cheese, the this
establishment of official state churches. across america, dissenting evangelicals led the charge against religious establishments during the revolution, but they often gained critical assistance from liberal christians were deists like jefferson who shared their goals. from the baptist's of new england to the presbyterians of south carolina, the dissenters sought to prevent state government from preferring any religious group. jefferson was also an architect of the second major point of agreement between the diaz and evangelicals. the idea of the creator of god as the guarantor of fundamental human rights. in older european political traditions, kings and their defenders often used christian doctrine to uphold political hierarchy. but in america, revolutionaries began to appropriate the idea of
common creation as the primary basis for the political liberties of all men. the most famous articulation of this idea can of course in jefferson's declaration of independence, which proclaimed that, quote, all men are created equal. and they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. every phrase of the declaration's opening paragraphs has been bisected by scholars. yet the claim that all men are created equal and that they are endowed by their creator with rights has received less attention than other parts of the famous first passages of the document. it's like the this historical neglect reflects an awareness of jefferson's discuss skepticism about traditional christianity to get some interpreters might be the jefferson was casually
employed in a widely recognized yet theologist initial description of the deity and the divine act of creation. but the motivation behind jefferson's use of the phrase is at once simpler and more significant when jefferson needed a firm foundation for his plea for american rights he turned to the broadly accepted notion of equality by creation. for the rendering of this section of the declaration, jefferson borrowed from his fellow virginian, george mason, and the recently drafted virginia declaration of rights. in the document, maysan spoke of men as, quote, by nature for equally free and independent. jefferson we wrote this for use to show more clearly the action of god in creation. jefferson originally wrote all
men are, quote, created equal and independent, but then he cut out independent to leave the freeze all men are created equal. jefferson's next phrase in doubt by their creator was also more theological explicit than mason's wording which it asserted all men, quote, have certain inherent rights. in a rough draft of the declaration, jefferson had been even more forthright, riding the, quote, from names equal creation 80 life rights inherent and inalienable. nason's declaration of rights did speak of god as creator, but only leader in the document and with specific reference to religious liberty. overall, mason's freezing was less theologically correct them what jefferson and played. the use by jefferson and the endorsement by congress of the quality and rights by creation
twice in this essential sentence was no mistake or afterthought. jefferson recognized the wording of the declaration of independence what route his case for equality in the widely assumed, and creation of mankind by god, and thus provide a more transcendent basis for the quality than referring to the rights of english men or to simple reason. propounding national independence because god had created humans as equal beings was a profoundly significant example of the willingness of jefferson and other founders to use religious concepts to mobilize americans for the patriot cause. congress even added to references to god, the supreme judge of the world and divine providence at the end of the declaration. as jefferson famously explained
later, he meant the declaration to reflect, quote, the harmonizing sentiments of the day. using language the would resonate with the american public and rise above sectarian differences and theology. by 1776, the discourse and around the concept of equality by creation possessed that broad appeal. although jefferson virginia aristocrat and a slave owner only tentatively envisioned the declaration as a catalyst of social change, americans quickly realized that his words could be used to simulate a much deeper egalitarian transformation. indeed, the doctrine of the common creation of all people proved one of the most cogent arguments against slavery. many american leaders tried to
restrict god-given equality to white men. however, some american stock jefferson's language of equal rights for their than most major founders intended. within months, of charlotte for come 1776, african american congregational lists had seized upon the declaration's language of equal the by creation and he cited act 171st 26 in the king james it says, quote, god has made of one blood all the nations of men to argue that, quote, liberty is as equally as precious to a black man as it is to a white one, and bondage equal the is intolerable to the one as it is to the other. hames warned americans invite to the wrath of god if the did not give us slavery. the doctrine of rights
guaranteed by creation helped make the ideological tensions over american slavery unsustainable. beyond church-state relations and rights by creation, a wide spectrum of americans also believe in the political threat posed by human sinfulness. they worried about the sinfulness of the british, but also about their own moral failings. in 1776 proclamation for a day of prayer and fasting, the continental congress called on americans to, quote, the whale our manifold sins and transgressions, and by since your repentance and amendment of life, but he is god's righteous displeasure and through the merits and mediation of jesus christ of team his part in and forgiveness. because of their doubts regarding human nature, the
founders of centralized government power as dangerous. this conviction heavily shaped both the decision to revolt against britain and also the nature of the new american government. while most of the leading founders did not believe in the total depravity of man as taught by calvinist christians, most revolutionary americans believed the best kind of government featured divided powers, again, older european political fury held that god saved political sovereignty in a marked, but the patriots rejected king's and any central consolidation of power because as james madison put it in the federalist papers, men were not angels. the belief in human sinfulness was a staple of both classical republican ideology which many
historians see as a primary driver of the revolution and traditional calvinism. although republican in the know what to emphasize the virtues of land at independent men it also highlighted the present danger of corruption among people because of the creaking for domination. the confidence of republicans and calvinist doubts about human nature took full bloom in the framing of the constitution. madison knew well the doctrines of original sin and human depravity has he had attended the calvinist leaning princeton. although he believed temmins had a natural capacity for good, he nevertheless came to the constitutional convention in 1787 with a plan of government that would account for human sinfulness while also creating a government that could act effectively against threats to the national interest.
a related moral principle, a counterpart to the belief in human sin was that mean for virtue to sustain the republican if in a republican system sovereignty was given over to the people those people must be willing to act benevolently with the public good in mind. centralist government power kept people at large from running wild with the political authorities risked becoming tyrannical if it wasn't balanced and checked within itself and led by a virtuous people. during the revolution, a new blend of christian and republican ideology little religious traditionalists to increase the ideal of republican virtue wholesale if they remained virtuous, boston patriots samuel adams, said americans could create, quote, a christian sparta, a unique amalgamation of the christian
and classical republican traditions. the final salient point of agreement between diaz said evangelical in the revolution was the belief that god or providence moved in and through the nation's. this long-held view during the 17th and 18th century had conflicts between britain and europe's catholic powers especially france. as recently as the end of the seven year war in 1763, most british american colonists believed that god had shown a particular favorite to the british empire of which there are still vital part. conversely, many british american protestants consider the catholic french as aligned with antichrist. with the onset of the revolutionary crisis, a major conceptual shift convinced
americans across the theological spectrum got was raising america up for a special purpose. when they believe have abandoned the providential role and had become corrupt and evil in view this change harkened back to the early puritan notion that america could be city upon a hill and witness to the rest of the world. americans widely in triumph with prosthetic and providential significance baptist leaders isaac and james manning believed the revolution was, quote, important step toward bringing in the glory of the latter-day fathi and times. will the episcopalian george washington wouldn't go as far as manning, he nevertheless insisted that all americans should see the hand of god in the war. quote, the great author of the
universe, he said had intervened to ensure america's victory. while there was quite the gap between the seceding from war with general providence and seeing it as the fulfillment of christian prophecy, these assertions reflected a new civil spirituality that was developing in america. during and after the revolution many complete america's political affairs defined purposes, which meant an aura to the war and a fledgling nation. the sulzberger quality serve as a transcendent frame in which to set the war and american national policies united the kaleidoscope of american believers around the proposition that, quote, because of america had become the cause of christ.
or at least providence. but simple spiritual body could also mask morally complicated or questionable matters with the veil of divine approval. for simple, on july 4th from 1779, the sunday that fell in the third anniversary of the declaration of independence, a baptist pastor william rogers addressed continental troops on their way to subdue iroquois indian raids against patriot forces in new york. rogers, who served as an american chaplain for most of the war reminded them of their sacred cause. quote, politically as a nation we are exported to trust in the lord. american exertions have hitherto been crowned with success. let us still under the banner of liberty and with a washington for our head golan from conquering to concord.
our father's trusted and the lord did deliver them. they cried unto him and were delivered. they trusted in him and were not confound it. even so, maybe to be with us for the sake of christ jesus, who came to give freedom to the world. these words echoing in their mind the troops attacked and burned 40 iroquois towns during the campaign, raising their fields and orchards. although profit angeles and united and inspired the patriotic americans during the war, it was also the most morally problematic of all of their shared religious principles. the devil was undoubtedly in the details of americans assertion of civil spirituality. some founders envisioned a america has a specifically christian nation while others
prefer a more general rhetoric of america. these differing specifics would at times threatened to tear americans apart, such as during the presidential election at 1800 viewed the. americans at the time could not agree on the religious significance of thomas jefferson's election. some federal lists especially conservative complication lists soldiers in's victory as fraught with apocalyptic danger. the gazette of the united states of philadelphia, the nation's leading federalist newspaper, repeatedly week after week printed a notice in the fall of 1800 that instructed americans to ask themselves, quote, shall i continue in allegiance to god and a religious president, john adams, or in piously declare for jefferson and no god.
some new england federalists reportedly hid their bibles when they heard jefferson had been elected during soon the government would come to confiscate them. but other american christians house of jefferson's deflection in an entirely different light. the dam very baptist association in connecticut wrote to jefferson in 1801 congratulating him on his election. quote, we have reason to believe the baptists exulted that america's lagat has raised you up to fill the chair of state out of that good will which he bares to the millions which you preside over. they prayed god would bring jefferson, quote, at least to his heavenly kingdom through jesus christ our glorious mediator. for many baptists and other jeffersonian republican evangelicals, jefferson's election did not represent a triumph of infidelity but a great providential victory for religious freedom.
to their relief, jefferson's critics found little evidence of moral decline or antichristian ticker once jefferson took office. unlike washington and adams, his predecessors, jefferson did not call for the national days of prayer, but otherwise his administration did not cut any dramatic changes with regard to the government stands on religion. president jefferson displayed surprising comfort with the public role for religion despite his talk of a wall of separation of church and state come between church and state, a phrase he used in a letter to the embrey baptist association. in his first inaugural speech, jefferson said a friendly tone for his administration's stance toward a nondenominational and providential as somewhat vague form of christianity. he listed among the chief blessings of america it's, quote, benign religion professed indeed in practice in various forms, yet all of them
implicating honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude and the love of man, acknowledging and adoring and overruling providence which by all proves that it delights in the happiness of man and his greater happiness here after. jefferson defeated freedom of religion yet he still believed that in the mining christianity undergird american liberty. he had little interest in christianity fielder patrician but he saw its public effects in inculcation of virtue as essential to the life of the republic. americans used to knowing jefferson only as the advocate of a wall of separation between church and state, his sympathy toward monfort list evangelicals and the public role of religion might seem a little strange. aside from his refusal to call
for days of prayer, jefferson showed few signs of what we would now call a strict separation position on church-state issues. federalists and have charged jefferson with atheism but in fact he should consistent willingness to use the agencies and property of government has been used for in partial religious expression to me he believed the government should never promote any particular denomination, never prosecute anyone for their beliefs or coerce anyone into a religious observance but he would never have contemplated the idea that government should be hostile or unwelcoming to religious exercise in general. mick not only did jefferson attended church service in the house chamber when john leland delivered the mammoth cheese but he per permited worshiping federal buildings and a number of religious services himself on government property and he had done this since the governor of virginia. during his presidency church
services were routinely held in the treasury building, the war office, and the supreme court and a whole range of pastor's including some evangelicals spoke to the church services in the house of representatives. what then did jefferson's election in 1800 for present? if we focus only on the federalist attacks on him as an infidel then we might conclude when faced the choice between a religious and secular republic in 1800 americans chose a secular one. but i think this interpretation appears doubtful in light of jefferson's promotion of a public role for religion and his deep connection with many american evangelicals be especially baptists. even the baptist start jefferson entertained any notion that religion should have no place in the political life of the republic. their experience with church-state relations told them the great danger lay in the
government creating an official religious establishments, and preventing free exercise of religion. but they hardly envisioned a secular republic, such a concept was almost incomprehensible in the mental world of the founding era. now this is not to suggest the jefferson secretly held some kind of traditional christian faith. he did not. okay? shivers in's victory simply repealed the founders commitment to the republic where religion sustained public virtue remand in place after the e election f-18 hundred. so to conclude, religious principles on which the revolutionaries agree are not slogans, the inspire both prominent founding fathers and of lesser known preachers such
as chaplain david a. free. they finally bound together americans that widely differing religious opinions. if not for their common view of church and state, i suppose john leland m. thomas jefferson might have despised one another. they're joining union of their contradictory private religious beliefs created an unusually free nation where the exercise of religion for risch unfettered common public religious values also gave balance to the country that badly needed stability. even in its today's intense conflict over morality and values, propositions of faith undergird many of america's greatest political tenants. many americans now see religion as something that only divides and perhaps should be excluded from public conversation.
others called for the return to the supposedly secretary in christian nation of the founding. but a closer examination shows that the nation's founding american religion was both diverse and thriving. in its most vulnerable moments, public religion united revolutionary america from the battlefields of massachusetts to the framing of the new government. the public spirituality of the revolutionary era of evangelicals liberal christians and ds established many of america's most cherished freedoms so despite the potential for abuse and controversy i would recommend those principles of civil spiritual atty to american civil society. thank you. [applause]
thank you, dr. kidd to read this is your opportunity to make a comment or ask a question of our author and our guest, and if you would make your way to the microphone in the aisleways. i will use my position and ask the first question because i can. i'm curious only one feature finds jefferson's declaration ongoing conversation over coffee so and just continue that conversation. only one preacher signed jefferson's declaration. john weatherspoon serving as president of the college of new jersey. to what degree if any does dr. witherspoon play in this alliance that you've described in your book between evangelicals and deists?
john witherspoon is a well-known figure today in american history who deserves to be much better known. he was the time of the revolution he had come to be the president of the college of new jersey at princeton and among his students listings madison three he was a presbyterian pastor and the only pastor who signed the declaration of independence. he is very influential was especially lifting of the importance of the virtue for the life of the republic and he gives a very famous sermon i believe in 1776 for meaning of got over the providence of man, and he says to americans it's all well and good for you to be concerned about your liberty and rights but if we turn away from
god and become an immoral people, the judgment of god will come against us and we will not win this war mike and that was a constant message for many pastors and people in the american revolution. i think that witherspoon had a unique position to promote that view not least because he was the teacher of james madison who of course is the architect of the constitution. so i resonate with your elevating witherspoon as someone we need to know a lot more about as americans. >> thank you ramage, dr. kidd, for your talk today. i was wondering if there were -- i call them defending her defenders at the time of the american religious life i guess what we think now about the baptist who saw this alliance has some kind of a constant compromise between the deists and even to locals to the to --
evangelicals the would be a threat to the church. was that a waste or is that an anachronistic to think that might be back there and i could sneak in a second 1i wonder if you have looked at the american revolution and see anything from a british perspective people who also believe in god's providence and what was going on with this chastisement of god or just from the other side. >> i don't know as much about the british reaction to this, but i do think there are people who lumberton's site see this as a judgment of god on the british empire is after all a civil war within the british empire that happens and there are many british evangelicals who saw it as the judgment of god and also john wesley, for instance,
famously was very much against the colonists were trying to do. he thought was totally illegitimate, and that, to get to your first question, on the c2 very common dissenting evangelical kinds of opinions about the american revolution or the antipatriot positions. one is the view that says we have the right to resist and protest but we do not have the right as christians to overthrow a legitimate government. and that was not an unusual position among certain evangelicals. there's a pastor in savannah georgia with swiss backer, a presbyterian pastor who was actually a member of the continental congress from georgia when he began to see the direction things were going from resistance to revolution he thought that we are not permitted to do as christians we can voice our complaint, but has
made clear several times a minute testament the authorities that are established by god said i don't think that we have the right to do this. he ended up becoming a loyalist which is unusual to have served in the continental congress and then to go all the way over to becoming a loyalist he loses his church is one big to south carolina where he hides out for some time and becomes probably the leading loyalist voice in georgia. there are other evangelicals who take more of this in a baptist pacifist to the tone. nothing good is going to come out of this war has a kind of approach. as christians, we just should not be involved in this kind of thing. there were certain critical evangelicals who sit for the sake of the gospel nothing good is going to come of this war and a few see a particularly challenging critique come out of
the needed evangelical community on the point samson was the leading native american pastor of the revolutionary era recommended to all native americans to try to stay out of this war as best you can. why? because this is going to damage need of american communities which it sure did, and it is going to destroy the attempt to continue sharing the gospel with native americans and sure enough, all the missions were broken up, some of the missionaries had reputations ruined because they did with the triet army and so forth and at the end of the war said this has been an utter disaster and the real losers of the american revolution who come out of the wrong side of this are the native americans and that seems to be always the case with native americans and american wars. >> i invite you to offer your questions.
until you do, your reference to civil religion brought something to mind the recent event in washington, d.c. sponsored by guinn -- glenn beck. >> you will notice that i sent civil spirituality in my talk which is quite a conscious decision some of you may know there's a concept out there about civil religion it's been debated since 1960 about whether americans have what he would call a civil religion devotion to the state that functions as a kind of separate religion for americans, may be complementary to christianity or judaism or islam. you have the fourth of july, memorial day, veterans day, these religious holidays of the
civil religion. i don't actually think that civil religion is a religion. i think it is a dimension that takes on a religious or spiritual cast and so my editor's jump on the idea of simple spiritual the i think gives a little more precise message to what's going on where people talk about their patriotism and devotion to kind of clause i religious spiritual terms of a separate religion. that gives people permission in some ways to be serious about their patriotism without it being necessarily idolatry about a civil religion. going back i know some of you have been on the glenn beck tv program and had a very nice time
doing at. so what was going on last month in washington is a very good example of this persistent, the power of civil spirituality in america where the message is set aside to the extent we can partisan politics and this sort of thing and elevate those things the were good and true and right about america and this was shot through with those kind of things. depending where you're coming from political you may think one thing or the other about glenn beck and sarah palin in the second things but one thing's for sure, it has this ever been more relevant and the founding now is a time of intense
scrutiny and some quarters of the religious or spiritual roots of america so it is very much with us still why this book matters. >> i'm just curious what do you think are some of the biggest challenges as we can interpret a american history in relation to christianity and i know for myself i grew up as a home school where and i grew up during the height of the moral majority where i'd like the moral majority of kind of saying america is this the type christian nation and all the founding fathers were christians and don't get me wrong, some of them were, growing up under that understanding and then just
finding myself a disillusioned with everything surrounding the moral majority and one ended up happening but would you think are some of the challenges. what as christians should we view american history and in the future? >> is a terrific question and this gets right at the heart of what i'm trying to do in the book. this is perceptive question i think. if you haven't noticed americans are will rise to the left from things and one of the things they are polarized about is the role of religion and the founding on one side you have people and i suggested this in my concluding comments, you have some people who say america was founded as a christian nation and that means that all the founders of our really serious christians and it's all kind of
christians found in this nation under christian principles. jefferson, franklin will problem of it because they were so open, but basically everybody else is really serious christian, and on the other side of this debate, you have historians usually professional economics at secular university's who will say that religion had nothing to do with the founding of the funding was totally secular by secular people whose even one book that is come out a few years ago called the godless constitution by to history professors on the subject to say that after all god is not mentioned in the constitution and this is something i deal with. part of what i try to do in this book is if what i see course is a more sensible answer to this. there is no point in pretending like the major founders, we
usually have about five or six of them, washington, franklin, adams, madison, this sort of thing, there's no point in acting like that group or are just a bunch of evangelical christians, right? and it's easy to make the case with jefferson and franklin because franklin for instance called himself a deist so how do we know he was and he said he was a deist and take him at his word and these founders also live in a heavily christian world the mental world was profoundly shaped by christian presuppositions and categories and there is a distinction to be made as i talked about the lecture today the personal beliefs of jefferson for
instance our tradition to say the least and his view that religion will play an important role in the life of the republic and this is not too complicated. he saw religion as being very important in society and he had what i would call her radical views of christianity. so if you are secular or skeptical that religion should be taken out of society and if you are evangelical to have a view i can only work with people who have my same personal beliefs and so candidates are put in a position the have to give their testimony to be elected to office. i don't think this is an unhealthy as a relationship as what went on in the founding. so on one hand the more skeptical folks believe that religion should have a very
important public role. and the more traditional evangelical folks were willing to work with people like jefferson and the religious arrangement in what we have today and i that many of you are nodding your head and would agree with that. we have religion in american society and i'm trying to cast a vision for the way things work in the revolution which i think it's a better arrangement. >> time for one last question. >> you mentioned that you saw in the founding documents creation as the key for our understanding of equality. i was wondering if this shows up in any form under classical republican is a war if it is a christian attitudes.
>> this is small republicanism, not talking political party. i'm talking about a tradition that goes back to the ancient greece and rome and in that tradition there is a belief in a kind of equality but it is an equal the of the men and the republic. it is and a quality of political people and by definition in republican political ideology, classical republican that excludes the definition the majority of the population starting with women, starting with minorities and poor people, and a classical republican view these are not political people and because landed property men are those who participate in politics, classically. so i do think that at least this
generally christiana idea of equality by creation had something more profoundly equal or egalitarian than the classical republican view because the basis of equality is not land ownership for gender or race but instead takes us back to the moment of creation however this happen and maybe there is some delete about how that went on, but everybody is the time of the revolution knows that people are created by god somehow, and therefore they are standing before god as an equal standing. okay? so, i think that the christian view is a dynamic all encompassing kind of review that for instance african-americans jump on right away. wegmann jo bonner right away at the full convention of 48.
they say we hold these truths to be self-evident all men and women are created equal. it is dynamite it theologically to believe in equal the by creation, and that's why it's so all encompassing and much broader in the classic republican vice. great question. thank you. >> our time is gone. i would like to thank the audience for attending and participating, and i would ask you to one more time join me in thanking dr. wars estimates before a rematch. [applause] >> thomas kidd is also the author of the great awakening, the roots of evangelical christianity in colonial america and was a history professor at baylor university. for more information, visit thomaskidd.net. coming up next, book tv present
"after words," an hourlong program where we invite guest hosts to interview authors. this week former journalist and historian luis knight discusses her latest work jane addams a spirit in action. the social justice civil rights and women's suffrage advocate advice every president from mckinley to fdr. she discusses the life and legacy of the first american woman to win the nobel peace prize with george washington university director of women's studies daniel moshenberg. ..
>> it is, of course, a consolidation of the various agencies looking out for women into one solid, more stronger group as a real con tin continuation that was cofounded by many other women in 115, and the vision at the time was completely radical, and now look what the u.n. has. the vision was that women should be part of the peace negotiation process. they should be, of course, they should be diplomats representing
their country in negotiation, but also women in time of war are a special risk for rape, that their children are a special risk for dying under refugee conditions, and all of these things are the purview of the women's agency. the other piece to be said right away, is it's the 10th anniversary of the u.n. security resolution 1325, adopted in october of 2000, and that resolution has not exactly been very fulfilled as of yet, and now that there's a women's agency in the u.n. with a high ranking person heading it, the chans are much greater that that person is looking out for implementation of 1325 focused specifically on whether women are part of the peace negotiating process and whether women's risks after and during a war are protected. >> host: so the committee when it was a committee was a
committee for permanent peace. how do you see that question of perm nans both -- permanence in terms of jean adam's work and also in terms of the work you're doing by actually writing the book? >> guest: actually, well, that's a nice way to open up an interesting topic. jane add ms wrote a book near the end of her life called the excellent becomes the permanent. it's an interesting title, and puzzle to many unless they are familiar with plato which is where she took the phrase from which believed the excellent for permanent. adams book was a memoir of people she trusted. it's a collection of features she gave at their memorial services. she was in each case doing her best to evoke their excellence at the memorial service, and
between the covers of a book so they would not be forgotten. i think that that's the first thing to say what permanence meant to her. obviously, in writing the book, i couldn't help but feel i was also contributing to that same project. in my case, i was trying to create and ensure her excellence by capturing it between the covers of a book. at the same time as a biographyer, i'm not only just recording excellence, but to capture the humanity of a person, and humanity, obviously, means the side of them where they have compassion of course, and also the side where they are flawed because we all carry the burden of being imperfect. i needed to do that as well. that's the biographer's idea of excellence, to capture the
complete humanity of the person. to go for the -- what was the title? of women for permanent peace, right. >> host: women's peace party is much easier. >> guest: yes, it is. that title, of course, was the creation of a group of women who got together in 19 # 15 in april. world war i had not been underway even a year, and they were meeting in hague, a symbol of peace negotiations even then to decide what they coupled do about this devastating war, and the women who showed up at the meeting came from both sides of the warring nations, so that was in itself remarkable, and of course, they crossed dangerous waters or dangerous borders to get there, and i think when they use the word permanent peace, what they meant was we want to put forward to the world, and
they did on a platform, the con cements we think ensure that we don't have another war, but if we don't do these thing, we will have another war, so that platform was a very -- they had not getten the credit they deserve for the remarkable content of that platform, and if you compare it towood wrote -- woodrow wilson's, it was quit something. there's was complete and had the elements that his 14 points had. that's what they meant by permanent peace. >> host: in terms of the way that permanent peace operates in her life story, there's also that religious part. her story is filled with the anguish of early childhood to the end of losing parents, her mother, her father, sisters,
siblings, just after she gets the nobel peace prize, that question of how that part of peace operated throughout her life is something to just wonder about especially as you tell the story, which is fascinating. >> guest: yeah, i gather you're implying the relationship between peace and death. >> host: fer her. >> guest: for her. that's the way to describe it. they were connected. they are for the rest of us too in the sense that when a society is most aware of death is when it's at war. death is on the tv every night. the names of the dead are scrolling by, and for adams, i'm certain that her passion for peace was built in part on the trama that death was for her beginning at age 2 when her stepmother died, and then her father when she was 21, and in
between her sister died when she was 6, and she was traumatized by death because it came so young, and because she had a big mind, you know, so she really was wrestling with the meaning of death the rest of her life, and i think the idea that a government, which in her mind was supposed to be a nurturer of the people's self-development would authorize death, it didn't fit together. >> host: right. at the same time, there's a kind of before the word came around, there's an existential drama played out throughout her life because you have her as an extremely, not only learning woman, but a bookish woman, a woman who derives a great deal from literature, from the arts, and yet again and again and again she discovers that she doesn't know what she's talking about and she needs to experience it when it comes to
lynching or whatever, that she needs to know what the base of knowledge is. i'm wondering what it's like to be a boyographer who has great faith in the words you are writing, but there's limits to that. your own relationship to jane adams is now in two books; right? >> it's something i thought a lot about. i'm a bookish person, and i love learning from books. writing a biography, i was learning from a lot of books, letters, and speeches and things, and it's forced me to think more about how well i've diversified my own means of learning, and i can't -- i can't ignore the fact that i needed to diversify my sources. i need to have more experience. i mean, i've had certain kinds of experiences from volunteer work, ect., so i have a sense of
the potential. actually, i used to live in washington, d.c., and i tutored an african-american woman who was in jail for drugs, theft, whatever, and that was an eye-opening experience for me even though she was very careful, of course, not to be too revealing, but i got a sense of her life, and it was very sobering for me to meet a person frequently who had a life so different from mine. that's what jane's point was and is about why we need to live in a settlement house or why you need to make sure your life is structured in a narrow path where you have contact with people from your own class, background, and that you are not even aware of how ignorant that you are, and the ironny, of course, is when she was a young woman and she moved to house street where the new settlement house was to be low kitted -- located, she thought she was
well educated because she had been the school, europe, and read a lot of books, and still had the classic definition of education, and what she discovered when she got there and started meeting people with lives completely different than hers, working class people, people from all over the world, especially europe from peasant backgrounds, many of whom were illiterate, and certainly few had gone to college, and she discovered they knew more than she did. she had to reverse her definition of the two key words in the 19th century. one was cultured and the other was civilized. you find her in her writings in 1900 saying that we have to define these two words this way and she proceeds to define them in a very radical way which is to say a person who understands many cultures, a person who is broad-minded and respectful of the diversity of humanity, well,
that's still a radical concept. i think today we still think that book knowledge and institutional knowledge are the true knowledge. >> host: i wonder if there's a sense in which you feel that halt house doesn't get enough attention generally that you're just amazed of how often you have to explain what a settlement house was or what it was and what it meant in the day. it is a radical experiment, but it can come off to some people as political tourism of youth or class. >> guest: absolutely. from the day the first settlement house doors opened, there was a sense that it was not what it was. i mean, the newspapers thought it was a charity effort. >> host: right. >> guest: to help the poor, and that's how it's been represented ever since. clearly, there's something about that stereotype that fits
people's expectations especially when it's a woman, and an upper class woman, of course, that's why she's there. it's my goal to help people understand that settlement houses was really not about that. yes, the poorest of the poor also benefit from having the settlement house there, but the people she saw every day were working class people working in factories, worked cleaning offices at night, they were working to support their families. they lived just beyond the edge of poverty unless the economy collapsed or they got layed off which was frequently, of course. it wasn't to help them initially, but more to have social ties so that she would not be in this narrow class life anymore, and also that they would have experience with people from another class, and there was a little bit of bless there because she started believing that she had a lot to offer them; right?
but it was social and cultural. they have classes, clubs, lectures, music, plays, concerts, they had drama, they had very wonderful resources that anyone would like to live next door to, so that was a purpose and that's often life. at the same time, many settlement houses define their effort in what can we do for the neighbors that will help them? they had a soup kitchen, a health cleanic for awhile, and people came to them in times of crisis. it's weird you -- it's where do you put the emphasis. i have to say another thing about set lement houses, and in addition to getting that story straight, i'd like to get it straight that jane adams was not
a hull house. that's incorrect. it was a democratically governed organization, and she had one vote when it came to deciding what the hull house initiatives should be, and the other residents had their own initiatives, and sometimes she gets that credit because she's a famous name. that's another thing to get clear, and the third thing is that jane adams did so much more than hull house, and what she did was not representing hull house, although people assume that, but she was representing herself. she was her own social reformer just like the other residence at hull house. kelly was doing a lot of political action before she left. alice hamilton the same, they were not representing hull house nor was adams. each had their own career. part of the focus of the new book, which of course, citizen in my first book stops in 1899,
but this book goes to the end of her life. i'm saying let's look at the whole life and recognize she was more than only a head of the settlement house. >> host: i'm fascinated by florence kelly. i hope you write another book, but what did you find? what happens to the world of florence kelly when you put it through the filter of jane adams? there was not only the first world war, but all sorts of moments where they either are at odds with one another or where florence kelly is pulling adams into more direct action politics, and adams pulls kelly into negotiating circumstances. >> guest: i agree. looking at them together is enlightening. i got to see adams better and highlights what adams was not. i should say right off that there is a wonderful historian
named katharine who has written a volume one of a two volume biography of kelly. she is her biographer. in terms of -- one of the things of kelly walking on to the stage and kelly's life, of course, known to me, i had studied it, was to see how politically active kelly it been before she got to hull house. she was working with women in pennsylvania and new york state to get reform laws on the state books dealing with child labor, the eight hour day, ect., for women. when she came to hull house, she was seasoned, and i that, oh, add ms is way -- adams is way behind here. because kelly had a lively personality, you didn't have the actual conversations, but you didn't need them.
you knew kelly was sitting her down saying, jean, get in the political arena. there's no time to be wasted. we need you in illinois advocating. adams had never lobbied before and writes in 20 years about how she had a distaste for lobbying at this time which i think is because her father disapproved a lobbiests. he was a state senator and was of the classical fashion belief that you made up your own mind, trust your conscious, and not be pressured by anyone, and so he thought lobbiests were bad people. adams had also ignored the fact her father would have disapproved of her becoming a lobbyist, but with kelly next to her, and also other women, women at the chicago women's club and trade women who too had become political activists including mary kenny. they were surrounded by women who were visionary about women's
ability to be political about the vote than she. she was like swept up and pulled in, and that's how she got her baptism into politics. >> host: there's also a move each time among women who seeking autonomy develop a politics of almost separatism opposed to adams. you get a women's trade movement that begins with women beginning to be part of the trade movement saying we need our own organization to go in from the outside. adams always had to be pulled into that because she had a much more, in some ways, almost universal position about all of humanity needed to be in the tent or else the tent was inadequate somehow. that seems in some ways to speak to the present moment as well. i mean, there's throughout the book you've said this in one way already, but throughout the book
you're saying we need to read this now. we need to read this. your last two pages say that because it's on race, violence, and on so many issues. who are you saying that to as your privileged reader or the reader you actually see? >> guest: wow, there's a lot of things to talk about there. let me just make a comment first about your point about adams universalism versus working separately whether it's gender or some other kind of separation because i think that's right through the 1890s. not that she doesn't want everyone involved, but one of the difficult lessons she encounters in the first part of the 20th century, she has no choice but to work separately, and that's because there's a huge backlash against women around starting the early part of the 20th century.
in the 90s women were just moving into society completely, they didn't need their own medical schools anymore, but going to law school, ect., but that started to reverse. women started having small quotas and were not allowed into medical school or law schools. it became worse. colleges considered kicking women out. you know, it was a backlash, and in that context, there was no way the labor unions run by men who had been reluctant any way to let women in to their unions, were interested in organizing women at all. the trade women knew they had no choice, but adams understood she was not going to get men in there to work with the trade union women, it was going to be other women, so she was part of the founding board of the women's trade union league, a cross class coalition between women union leaders and their
allies as they called them, meaning prosperous women, club women, settlement house women like adams, and they, to me, modeled something i'd been trying too see around me today have someone tell me about something i haven't found yet, but the idea was not that trade union women and prosperous women were to work together on issues that would benefit all of them which was also the case in suffrage. they joined on that issue because they all wanted it, but in the case of trade union organizing, the allies were there to help the trade union women accomplish their own goals. >> host: right. >> guest: that's what i'm having a hard time seeing, and that's true on what adams called cooperation. it's when you say what is your agenda, i'm going to stand with you on your agenda. i won't tell you how to do it or
change it so you'll join my political campaign, i'll line up with your agenda, and so when i think about today, i think about how remarkable that would be, and, you know, i think there's understandable nervousness with -- we've come to a fresh understanding of how there can be con den sense involved in first class work, and other people who are snobs who are prosperous, and there's distrust among working people of the prosperous. we're all nervous and don't want to touch the red-hot ember, but we should feel confident to get beyond that because i think we are beyond that, and we can do it. we just need a few people like adams to have the background and the confidence to help build those coalition and the ties with the working class leaders
which i don't see as having, you know, but again, i hope someone will correct me, so that's the first thing i think about. was there another part to your question? >> host: i'm wondering who you see writing the book. i'll tell you what because there are moments where -- there are moments where you introduce yourself in your book in wonderful ways on commenting on life and it's like, well, this is you talking, and then there's moments where you his toretize and this is maybe for a younger reader for whom certain contextual issues have to be raised in order to get the point of what that point of the story is. i'm wondering who you see your ideal reader when writing it or when you finished it and go, oh, that's who it is. >> guest: of course the writer thinks a lot about the reader.
i think, i do want the book to be read by people who are not familiar with american history, so my explanations, con tex chiewl -- contextizations are for those people whatever their age. i know the reader is living in my present. who knows who will read it 100 years from now, so i am aware of the issues on the mind of today's readers. one is what about adams and race? the other is was adams a lesbian? they are great questions and they are the questions of our time. i had a responsibility to answer them, and i wanted to answer them. at the same time, the historian in me was also thinking, well, you know, 100 years from now people will say why is she talking about these things because by that time they are be past where we are now. i said that's all right. i'm in my present, and they can
deal with that. i'm glad these times are asking those questions because i don't forget to say and look at things that are important to make clear about adams because they had not been made clear before to the degree i hope i did in the book. >> host: i think it's in some ways you talked about earlier is how we still struggle with the politics of benevada lance and how that is not only in her life, but how we approach adams and others like adams, but adams in particular. how does your thoughts on beany vol lens progress through the book? >> i made the most progress in writing the first book, "citizen" that covers the first half of her life because that's where she struggles with
benovolance. there's times where you are excited about that and that was one for me because i finally understood that when she is critiquing benovolance in the famous speech about the pullman strike. ipped this is a value -- i understood this is a value her father had and taught her. when she talks about the father in the pullman speech and positions george polman like king leer, the father, it started resinating for me. i could see she was struggling with her father's epic of it and she says the ethics of her fathers are not enough moving forward into new times. she doesn't want to reject them because that's a little overstating what she would say, but she was rejecting benevolence and it was a
respectable ethic, not in ours. it helped me think more about how difficult this was for adams because for us mod earn people it was like who thinks benevolence is a good thing. i did research on the history of benevolence, and there's a famous book by a scottish philosopher about the morals of sentiments or what's his name? he's the one who his also credited with inventing the invisible hand in economics. >> host: adam smith? >> guest: yes. that's a remarkable book and in there he's a big enthusiast of benevolence because at that time it was a good ethic. that helped me a lot because i could start to see how it was framed, and one of the things in that book that he says is the people who are being treated benevolently owe to the superior
being, gratitude, well, that was exactly the issue that i knew her father had felt people were not sufficiently grateful to him in his small town because there's a passage in his obituary describing how he says that in a religious lesson he gives. he's not saying it personally, but ingrad to do is a difficult thing to -- ingratitude is such a difficult thing to bear. in the leer speech, he's talking about ungratitude, and the dilemma in a modern leer. her father wants her to be grateful, but she wants to live her own life. this was all very interesting to me, and it helped me feel like i was on sure ground to realize adams was rejecting benevolence, and it was part of her ability to move beyond her class. >> host: well, i think we should perhaps take a couple seconds break and think about
benevolence. >> after words and other c-span programs are available for down load. more with them in a moment. >> why, when we hear the president and others talking about the fact that we must make government efficient for the people, did our founding fathers actually design the government to be inefficient? ask yourself that question because this is a model for inefficiency, but it was done
deliberately. why? because in order to have basic liberties, you have to have the government with very little power. the more efficient the government is, the more liberties the individual has to give up to give to them. they cannot do their job efficiently unless they have the power to tell you what to do. very interesting, suspect it? and yet our society today generally believes that we have to have an efficient government because we've been told time after time after time we must make the government efficient, but that is the road to the loss of freedom. >> to watch this program, go to booktv.org. type the title or author's name at the top left of the screen, and click search.
after words with louise knight and dan motionberg continues. >> host: so what about benevolence today? >> guest: studying benevolence made me see it all around me today. it's camouflaged because we don't endorse benevolence consciously, but it's a natural instinct and people want to be helpful, and they don't think they are being benevolent, they don't think they are creating an inappropriate debt or failing to respect the autonomy and individuality of the person and they only wish to hep after all. i've become aware of the pitfalls of what feels like kindness when actually it's this desire rooted in a sense that i know better than this person of what they need to be doing and
i'm going to be helpful, helpful. i think it's something we need to think about even though we are not consciously embracing the ethics. it's in us and it's part of human nature. >> host: so many, let's say among the progressive sectors have equal datety with -- difficulty with words like human tear and in the middle part of adam's life, how do you handle that as an exploy at a timive, especially -- exploitive operation and question who gets to be humanitarian and who has to accept the gift of human human tear? >> that's a good question, and it's just now being questioned in quite a wonderful way. you know, one of the challenges of writing a biography is you have the present in your mind, but you can't like die late on a
certain subject on a book defensively because it's not appropriate, so i was aware that some of adams perspectives were going to be misunderstood because people brought to it an assumption as that, but i count go into too much explanation, but the answer is people need to read her writings about international affairs and just for starters, they could read newer ideals for peace or newer ideals of peace, it's of. there you can see shements working -- she wants working people around the world to be part of affairs and part of government to be shaping the agenda. it's far from con den sending or benevolence. i think in the end, her interest in democracy which was self-govern comes across in her book, and in my book too, and
people have to zero in on that to understand she's ahead of her time. >> host: let's talk about working people. you throughout the book describe her attempt to cross lass social relations and alliances, and the word class seems to have meaning. yet when a number of people around the world talk about the united states in particular, they say that's for american scholars generally the slippery term we have. not with a class analysis, but a is there a comfort with that word? >> guest: i too was feeling confused and unsure, but that's a great question. i considered trying to erase the class issue, you know, on one point working on "citizen," but
i couldn't, and america's relationship to class is extremely complicated and deeply inbiff lant. today everyone says i'm middle class. my father who was a prosperous man and represented not in terms of money, but nonetheless in the top 10% of the population. he had no idea that was true. he considered himself middle class. people consider themselves middle class too, so we've kind of, you completely e vis rated the qlases rhetorically. the question is is there no class in this country? back in her time there was the issue. she said we americans witch to believe class didn't exist in this country, and that's so deep in us because it seems like the moment we recognize its existence, we say one class is better than another or there's something inferior about less
money, and those are important concerns, but if we don't come to grips with the fact that some people are barely making enough to survive, and can't afford health care, they can't send their kids to college if they wanted to which they may not, but if they did, and they are in a different situation than people who have the resources for that, and the question is what are we going to do about? you know, if you face the practice call reality that there's a distribution of the population across a spectrum, whatever we call it, then the question for adams was well, the people who are prosperous and comfortable just going to say good luck? will they try to work with the people who need government policies to make it easier for them to make successes with their lives? are we going to work with them on their agenda? raise the minimum raise and make sure the 8 hour day is enforced
which it's not at the moment? are question going to -- are we going to ease the process to vote so people who have complicated lives can register? same day registration is a debate now, and it should be. that's partly a class issue. i don't know what we call it. i'm not saying we have to go around saying class, but there's an agenda we need to be working on that is not the prosperous class agenda, and however we rationalize it or frame it, i think we need to think about it. >> host: so how much of that is chicago? there's something in the water in chicago. during her time you have jane adams, and all these women organizing, you know, this antilynching campaigns, hull house, this, that, the other, but it keeps ongoing. you mentioned miles horton, a
favorite of mine, president obama, all these organizationers in chicago. what's going on in chicago that makes that kind of analysis so much more comfortable in some ways or possible than in other places in the country? >> guest: that's a great question. i knew little chicago history when i started this, and of course i had to learn a lot. i think to give it the short version of the answer i think there's two things especially now, of course, talking about the 1890s for starters, but chicago was the capital of trade union organizing starting in the 1890s. this arose out of one, a lot of imgrants working in factories that were unorganized in terms of union unions. a lot of those immigrants came from europe where they had learned about union, and so they
brought that with them. a lot of them were socialists and had studied organizing in that context. that's a piece of it. another is the trades were very strong to making and book binding and, you know, things that were -- those i learned that trade unions is one kind of union, and trade unions were the kind that organize and all may recall medieval europe, and that's the first guilds. they were trade guilds. the trades were strong in the midwest, and so that's another piece. working people's consciousness was very high, and the unions were central to that. they create that sorbsness, and one reason we have this sort of e vis rated consciousness that working people are unity in our culture should be a unified presence is because the unions are so much more absent from worker's lives. only 7% of the private labor
force is distinct for the government labor force is unionized right now. that's also because a lot of workers are in fields or areas of work that haven't ever been unionized, so, you know, everyone is trying to catch up with that, but -- so that's one thing. the other thing as far as adams' being driewn into this work and some of the other women you mention is because in the midwest, which was called the west in the 90s, women were expected to be able to do the saism things as -- same things as men, and we can hypothesize it has something too big with western culture and pioneer life, and although chicago became a big city quickly, that was in the air. you go back and look at new york and boston, they were such higher ark call societies, and when you have hierarchy, you
have sexism too. there was a lot of elites snobbery in the east. we suppressed that memory right now, but it was there in states, and everyone that came from the east to the midwest commented in their essays they filed for the elite eastern magazines like the "atlantic monthly" and "harper" would comment on the situation in chicago and the e wall quality of the -- equality with the women of the men. that was there too, and i discovered this in the times that the people were writing about. it was not a theory in my head. >> host: would adams have come to chicago to hull stead street with an assumption of about patriarchy of women of privilege coming from where she came from, from cedarville?
>> she lived a winter in philadelphia, two winters in baltimore, and she was very aware that the midwest was a more free-thinking, open-ended society that chicago offered opportunities, and she was -- but her greater frame of reference was the hierarchies in england and she was visiting the first settlement house in the world to understand it when she started the hull house, one of the things she said was we're doing it difference than the other because we're not so -- i don't remember if it was hung up on class, but less class conscious and open minded about, you know, treating everyone as social equals. she saw that as american trait than a mid western ones but she understood that too. >> host: this sexism in
greater hierarchy for feminist analysts say sexism is described as the invention of the housewife, and one of the questions that still sort of lingers for me in the book, actually, you talk about how at the beginning they were all volunteers, and of course, as the settlement developed and grew there was paid staff, but the question of how domestic labor was conducted for the residence within the house is little unclear to me, and i'm wondering if a, if you have an answer, and if you think that's even an interesting question? >> guest: yeah, i think i answered that clearly in "citizen" than in this book. i knew i had to answer it. they had housekeeping staff, people who cleaned the rooms, they are cooks, so they were staffed up, and that was a
hierarchy in the settlement house in the sense of tasks, but -- and we don't have anybody commenting on it. we don't have anyone saying anything about what the relationships were, but there are just these random clues that reassure me it was not a hierarchy place of the staff either. an complample that was -- example that was early, kelly knocked on hull house door in late 91 and adams had a big fat baby on her hip, and it was the cook's baby. adams took care of the baby while the cook cooked. the first housekeeper they hired, and i think i mentioned that, but there was mary keiser was there and she was a resident of the house. i mean, a member of the resident
community, and you know, there was an act of social equality also. they -- that was also her commitment to the house. she was very caught up in the spirit as a founder. later, staff didn't have that same sense. it's a mystery to know exactly because we don't have the rest of the evidence. >> host: the narrative of migration you tell about is largely a narrative or story of transnational or international migration. people come from eastern europe and southern europe. how did adams negotiate the internal migration especially of the great black ply graciouses from chicago from the second half of the 19th century to the end of her life? >> guest: yeah, the first way that that affected her work was the increased number of lynchings going on in the first
decade of the 20th century, and by the way, not just in the south. we northerners are delusional if we think that northerners were not lynching blacks also. in fact, i frond a photograph -- i found a photograph i was thrilled to find and make that point. itit's in the book and it's a picture of a black man hanging on a rope and the picture was taken in minnesota in the early 20th century. it was because african-americans were moving north. in springfield, illinois, there was a terrible race riot in the summer of 1908, and that was adams' own state. it was that race riot among others that caused some settlement workers in the east coast to say, what are we going to do? they decided there needed to be
a new organize founded, and adams was part of the conversation, and there was an organizing conference in 18908 -- 1909, and eventually they figured out the name, and adams was on the committee that wrote up the charter for the naacp, so that's the first way that the internal migration was shaping her own reform agenda, and she, by the way, stayed on that board for the rest of her life. as far as hull house was concerned, there was -- i was careful to investigate just how many african-americans were in the neighborhood in the 1890s, and there was like five on the other side of the river. you know, there was a since ever charter, and we can track that down. i should say, there was more african-americans in south chicago, but i was focused on the northwest side. beginning in the 20th century, of course, more and more
african-americans moved north and settled some in the south of the main loop, but many more in the west, so they were finally beginning to be in the hull house. they were welcomed. adams was committed to social quality. she never would have allowed african-americans not welcomed. in fact, she did something remarkable around 1892 or 93. there was a young african-american woman with an md degree, a graduate of a wealth college who was trying to find a way to set up a life for herself. she had no money, and she connected with the settlement movement, and so she ask if she could come to hull house, and of course. she became a resident of hull house, the first african-american resident of any settlement house in a white neighborhood.
that was interesting act on adam's part. as more and more african-americans came to the west side, they participated in hull house. we have photographs of them participating and it's an integrated group. the african-american women also needed to form their own women's club because they had to meet at night. >> host: right. >> guest: many more of the working women in the neighborhood who were white, they play not have been rich. they were, you know, working class, but the ethic of the man working and the women stay home was across all the classes. the problem for the african-american women was sometimes men couldn't get a job. their women's club met at night, and they picked what they wanted to focus on and for that community it was affordable housing, and that's what they worked on. hull house had done for them what they had done for many groups. at the same time, there's been a criticism, and this was more
after adams died actually, that hull house failed to make it completely clear to the african-americans in the community that they didn't need to fear not being welcomed. in other words, they made no extra effort. that seems like a plausible criticism because extra effort was probably needed because they would assume they were not welcomed. hull house's engagement of african-americans was active while adams was alive. >> host: there's a story about the progressive's party nomination of roosevelt and the role for president and the role that adams played negotiating, i guess, in her mind the straights between women suffrage and incorporation of african-american delegates and delegations to the convention. i'm wondering how you feel about her final resolution about that. >> guest: yeah.
every once in awhile you come across a knot and you know there's a lot of research to figure out what the heck really happened. this was exactly that. i knew it was really important for me to unpack this. i gave it quite a bit of space in the book. it was a major historical moment in her life and also a tragedy for the progressives who were black in the south. it was -- i was helped a great deal by the newspaper coverage, and you know, biographers working in the last few years have the benefit of using proquest to historical newspapers and call up in your study on your computer screen these newspaper stories that you would have never had time to find in the microfilm and so you make discoveries because the technology is so good. it's the front end of that process. i was able to get every article written in the "chicago tribune"
because the convention was held in chicago about what happened blow by blow, and that was informative. i had other memoirs of people who were present. the problem was that roosevelt welcomed african-americans if they were in the northern delegations. this is not always understood. he didn't want the southern delegations to seat african-american delegates, so he made sure before the party had its convention, that if the african-americans showed up at the progressive party's state convention, they were kicked out of it and prevented from coming and they were never told when it was going to happen so they didn't show up. they were like fighting in the states to get into these delegations because there were progressive blacks down there who wanted to be a part of the movement. by the time they got to the national con sense, than they -- convention, and they game despite the fact, they hadhe